Steam flew past its record of most players online at one time over the weekend, proving the service is as popular as ever.
One day, Steam will peak. At some point, theoretically, it won't continue to grow at such huge rates if by no other virtue than 'everyone will already have it downloaded and use it'. It seems we are far from that day though as over the weekend, Steam broke its record for the most players online at any one time. At 15:00 GMT on Saturday, January 6, Steam reach a staggering 18,522,222 players online at one point. (You can check out the graph at Steam Database.)
Now, it is important to note that not all of those players were in a game as the number just accounts for those who were logged in. That being said, the service was also playing host to 7.1 million players who were playing some kind of game at the time, which is a pretty decent size of the base actively using the platform to help them play. At the end of November, when we last reported on the record, the service 'only' had 17.6 million users on at the time. That is nearly a rise of a whole million extra players, suggesting the platform is seeing a huge bit of growth right now. It's wild to think about Steam as still a growing platform, but Valve really do seem to be killing it right now in this market.
Of course, other publishing services, like Battle.net, Origins, GoG, and more are not doing bad for themselves either, so we can probably attest this to the growing PC platform as a whole. The fact it is doing so well is certainly exciting for all of games. A healthy PC platform will push game and these numbers certainly would indicate the current health is booming. Here's to it continuing to grow.