The Steam video-game platform for Macs and Windows PCs grew substantially in 2011 — with unit sales of games rising more than 100 percent for the seventh straight year, according to new statistics released this morning by Valve, the Bellevue-based company behind the Steam system, often called the iTunes of video games.
Valve also signaled plans to make Steam compatible with larger screens: “Looking forward, we are preparing for the launch of the Big Picture UI mode, which will allow gamers to experience Steam on large displays and in more rooms of the house.”
Valve, a privately held company, didn’t release specific sales numbers, but said its registered users grew to more than 40 million, with more than 5 million of them using the service simultaneously at points during the holiday season. Valve said Steam more than doubled the amount of content it delivered during the year, serving more than 780 Petabytes of data — which required expanding its service capacity and deploying a new content delivery architecture.
The stats are notable in part because Valve started shifting some games to a Free To Play model at mid-year, as previously detailed by Valve president Gabe Newell. The model makes money via sales of in-game add-ons and extra content. Valve says 18 Free To Play games were launched on Steam in 2011, with more coming this year.