While the PC market may have appeared somewhat moribund for the past eight or so years, with unit sales falling, Valve Software's PC gaming portal Steam has overtaken the major consoles, boasting more users every month than both Microsoft's Xbox and Sony's Playstation.
According to a presentation at the Casual Connect conference in Seattle last week, attended by Geekwire, Valve Software's Tom Giardino claimed that the company now has around 67 million monthly users, and has signed-up 27 million new users since January 2016.
Giardino also revealed that Steam recently hit a peak of 14 million concurrent users, against a peak of 8.4 million just two years ago.
Although the company is notoriously secretive, the figures indicate that it may now have more than 150 million registered users - two years ago it claimed to have 125 million users.
The fast growth in user numbers comes despite a long-terms decline in PC sales, but with PC buyers tending to buy more expensive machines with more powerful graphics cards.
Growth has been fuelled by demand from Asia, with the market responding to more localised stores and its acceptance of more and different payment methods. Steam's growth represents a particular challenge to both Sony and Nintendo, who have in the path used platform exclusives to drive demand for their own gaming consoles.
Valve's own Dota 2 free-to-play multi-player online battle arena (MOBA) game, meanwhile, has also proved particularly popular across the world. It even has its own professional leagues with prize pools of millions of dollars - the annual Dota 2 tournament opens in Seattle this week.
The game is regularly played by more than one million users concurrently.
However, Giardino wasn't able to answer questions about the release date of Half-Life 3, for which gamers have been waiting for the past decade or so.
Privately held Valve Software was founded in 1996 by Harvard University drop-out Gabe Newell, who left Microsoft after 13 years at the company to make the game that became Half Life.
It was the development of the follow-up, Half Life 2, that led to the creation of Steam, an online anti-piracy mechanism that accompanied the game when it came out in November 2004. In 2008, it introduced the Steam Cloud, enabling users to log-in and play their games from multiple locations. And in 2012 expanded its store to encompass non-gaming software.
Originally developed as an online anti-piracy mechanism, Newell developed it into a digital distribution system that, in addition to offering digital rights management, offers gamers an online store, an app for managing their library of games, and facilities for playing against other gamers online.
All major games companies have their own 'store fronts' on Steam - even if, like Ubisoft (with Uplay) and EA (with Origin), they also have their own apps, which they try to redirect PC gamers to - and Steam takes a 30 per cent cut of every transaction. Origin and Uplay, though, look relatively moribund compared to Steam.
The company was estimated two years ago to account for 15 per cent of the global market for PC games, turning over about $3.5bn in revenue.
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