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Profiling Steam users A valuable gamer niche

Report by Karol Severin
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20,000 foot view:  For two decades now, Steam has been one of the go-to digital game distributors, particularly for computer gamers and developers. Yet, its weekly active audience does not quite reflect a fully representative sample of computer gamers. Rather, Steam’s weekly active users (WAUs) are a specific niche of gamers, characterised by their demographics, genre preferences and wider gamer behaviours. This carries implications both for developers, who stake much of their sales strategy on Steam, as well as for the digital distributor itself.

Key insights 

  • Only        of gamers use Steam every week, with the largest adoption occurring among PC gamers       
  • Steam’s weekly active users skew younger and more male than the computer gamer average
  • Watching games-related videos is one of the most over-indexing behaviours of Steam users, compared to the computer gamer average
  • This poses an opportunity for Steam to significantly enhance its video strategy and points to the need for developers to have thoroughly planned video tactics
  • Steam users are more likely to play multiplayer games than the computer gamer average        versus       
  • Steam users are also more likely to purchase in-game items every month than the computer average        versus       
  • Fandom of first-person shooter (FPS), role playing games (RPG), open world and survival games genres over-indexes the most among Steam users, while strategy, sports and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) under-index the most
  • Steam users are nearly twice as likely to use Discord than the computer gamer average
  •        of Steam users use YouTube weekly
  • Steam presents a valuable niche for a specific subset of games
  • Developers should, however, be wary not to over-rely their games sales on the platform to avoid risk of limiting their addressable audience 

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Amazon, BeReal, Counter Strike, Discord, Epic Games, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, GoG Ltd, Green Man Gaming, Netflix, Pinterest, Plarium Play, PlayStation Now, Snapchat, Steam, TikTok, Twitch, Twitter, Valve, Xbox Game Pass, YouTube, Whatsapp 

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