Steam is around since September 2003 with the introduction of Half life 2 and other games that were first Valve original titles or home developed sequels to mods for Half Life 1. The first mod was Day of Defeat and users were first forced to use the service with Counter-Strike 1.6.
Now 15.5 years later, according to the website Steam ID Finder, the service has reached its billionth account. There is probably a lot of bots and spam accounts mixed in between the billion, but more importantly this shows clearly how big Steam has gotten over the 1.5 decades it is existing now.
Born from a need
In 2002 Valve decided that the conventional way of distributing updates to their games was slow, took several days for people to acquire and just was in dire need of an update. With that need came Valve up with its own software distribution platform, having the service launch into beta after it was announced at GDC 2003. The beta phase went on until September 11th 2003, with around 80,000–300,000 users participating in the beta phase. From then on, Steam was officially released into full production mode.
Steam is now the biggest part of the Valve cooperation after having slowly stopped developing their own games, having games being released through Steam went on being the business model to keep Valve around. With such a success that it even reached in 2014 the huge success of having an estimated $1.5 billion annual game sales.
Steam in 2019
Last January Valve also shared some original statistics about its service with around 90 million active monthly users which is rivaling Sony’s PSN service also in active monthly users. According to its own statistics page, Steam has around 16 million active users every day. With Epic and its Epic Game Store buying more and more games to be exclusive to its own store front, Valve doesn’t show much in terms of competitive behaviour against the newcomer to the digital distribution scene. Epic went ahead and even basically threw the gauntlet at Valve if they’d change their revenue split with the developers, Epic would slow down or even stop the game purchase for exclusive distribution strategy.