There's been a lot made lately out of the next generation of consoles, and with good reason. Millions of the devices have been sold, and already the future of gaming's next generation is looking bright. But an unexpected development has been spotted, as the PC gaming service Steam
saw some absolutely staggering gains in users in the last three months...more than the newest consoles could muster.
Reports suggest that, over the last three months, Steam accounts rose from 65 million to 75 million, representing an additional 10 million new accounts. That's a pretty substantial gain no matter how you look at it, and some of the biggest gains came from sources that may be considered unlikely. While North America
and Europe were still some of the biggest trade for Steam, making up between them 81 percent of sales
in an almost even split—North America had 41 percent of sales while Europe was just behind at 40—Russia's portion of sales more than doubled at 128 percent gain. Brazil, meanwhile, was up fully 75 percent over the previous year, and that was a sound gain as well.
That's a pretty substantial growth, but what's behind it? What's behind big sales in North American and Europe, and behind huge gains in regions like Russia and Brazil? Some might suggest here that sheer word-of-mouth was a big part of the story; with regular appearances in a host of webcomics and gaming press and the like, letting people know about the huge Steam Sales was fairly easily done. That may have led users to check out the action for themselves and note some incredible discounts afoot. Further help could have come in the form of the upcoming Steam Machines; while they weren't quite available, exactly, the word about the machine that makes PC gaming console-easy could have prompted some users to sign up for Steam accounts to beat the rush.
This may be an indicator of how popular Steam Machines could ultimately be; that's a substantial user base in the making, and if the launch goes smoothly, the whole affair could elevate Steam to staggering levels. This could just be a sign of people looking for good deals on gaming products. Any number of possibilities—including several at work simultaneously—could be in force here. Only time will tell just where this may be going, but one thing's for sure: Steam is a lot greater a force to be reckoned with than some may have seen coming, and with 75 million accounts in play, that's a lot of gamers to offer products and services to.