Jessica S. January 14, 2021
2020 data shows that Steam has come out on top above PlayStation Network and Xbox Live in the competition for the most active monthly players.
According to Steam Database on Twitter, Steam has 120 million monthly active players, which beats out PlayStation's 102 million active monthly users, and Xbox Live's 90 million.
Xbox and PlayStation beat out by Steam in 2020
This info comes in the same year that PlayStation and Xbox both released new gaming systems. PlayStation launched the PlayStation 5, and Xbox launched its Xbox Seires X and Series S systems. Because they launched in the last few months of 2020, it is unclear whether these launches would have changed the rankings if given more time. PlayStation and Xbox next-gen consoles have also been an elusive on the market, considering they were sold out within minutes for each launch on retailers websites. This is particularly true for the PS5, which has seen stock issues ever since its release.
The data also shows that VR gaming has also seen a huge increase in 2020. There was a 71% increase in VR revenue and a 30% increase in VR playtime. Most of the increase in revenue was due to Half-Life: Alyx, a much-anticipated addition to the Half-Life franchise. That game brought in 39% of the 71% increase.
Game companies are starting to commit further to the PC gaming world. This year players saw games such as Horizon Zero Dawn and the Halo franchise, which includes the newly announced Halo Infinate, come to Steam from consoles. Big-name games like these being available to PC gamers who would otherwise purchase a console just to play a console-exclusive game gives Steam a new advantage. It is yet to be seen whether big-name games coming to Steam will impact these numbers further, but it is only good news for gamers to have those games available on all platforms instead of them being console-exclusive.
Gamers put in more hours of play in 2020
With many people staying in their homes in 2020, it's no surprise that data for playing games is higher than in years prior and has impacted the number of customers buying and playing video games. This led to higher monthly active users, daily active users, and peak concurrent users in 2020. There were also 2.6 million users who were first-time purchasers, and the hours of playtime came in at a whopping 31.3 billion hours.
PC players are hoping that this news turns the heads of AAA developers who like to release their games as console-exclusives. Because gaming is advancing so quickly, there is sometimes a concern about the average player's computer being able to run a game that could more readily be run on a console. But this hasn't stopped more PC players from flooding the market.