Huge increase in Steam PC gaming time for 2020

PC gamers who use Steam to play their favourite titles spent much more time gaming in 2020 than ever before.

This is according to the latest Steam Stats Overview, which was published by Valve on Thursday.

The company said while it had already seen significant growth last year before widespread COVID-19 lockdowns, video game playtime surged when people started staying home.

This also led to a dramatic increase in the number of customers buying and playing games, with new highs in several areas including:

  • Monthly active users increasing to 120.4 million.
  • Daily active users rising to 62.6 million.
  • Peak concurrent players hitting 24.8 million.

There were also around 2.6 million first-time game buyers per month, with 21.4% more games purchased over the course of the year.

Collectively, Steam players spent a total of 31.3 billion hours gaming in 2020, a 50.7% increase over 2019.

Vast amounts of data

Steam said the massive increase in the number of people buying and playing games kept its operations teams busy with managing the added strain on its servers and network infrastructure.

“At the start of March, there was a 30-40% increase in total traffic related to game downloads,” Steam said. “This is less than the bump we usually see during a sale, so it was fairly easily handled,” it added.

Notably, the company claimed it had been approached by various countries’ government bodies and other large Internet companies to find out how Steam could help mitigate the rise in global traffic that ISPs were recording.

Steam implemented several measures to curb the impact of its services on people’s ability to work from home and children’s access to remote schooling resources.

“We made some changes to help manage the bandwidth during work and school hours, and to defer updates to the evenings,” Steam stated.

The platform hit its peak download traffic for the year in conjunction with the launch of Cyberpunk 2077, which sent traffic to a record of 52Tbps, doubling the previous high.

In total, Steam said in 2020 it delivered data amounting to 25.2 exabytes, or 25.2 million terabytes.


Now read: CD Projekt delays new Cyberpunk 2077 content to fix bugs

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Huge increase in Steam PC gaming time for 2020