It's great when Steam and other online stores go head-to-head , because stiffer competition for them means lower prices and better service for consumers. One problem with this kind of competition-following, though, is that it disguises how truly lopsided the fight is: Steam is way, way ahead. Over the holiday weekend, the digital download service report it had seven million users logged on at the same time.
As originally spotted in this thread on NeoGAF , almost 7.2 million users were logged into Steam at around noon Eastern Time on Sunday. That's up from six million at this time last year and represents about 10% of the 65 million user accounts Valve talked about back in October. Even more astounding: about half a million of those users were online playing Dota 2 .
We don't know how many of those seven million users were idle or away, but some quick math shows that most of them were not playing a game. Counting up the players in the top 100 games gives us over 1.2 million players at the peak time yesterday. The rest of those six million users likely had Steam running in the background, always connected.
While it is great that sites like GOG (opens in new tab) and Humble Bundle (opens in new tab) offer DRM-free alternatives and sometimes lower prices than Steam, we shouldn't lose sight of the bigger picture: these shops are doing well for themselves, but for now they're small fish that pose no threat to the Steam shark. With numbers like this, it's clear how crucial Steam is for independent developers looking for exposure and success.