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Expansion to Apple's Mac helps Steam hit 30M active users

Cloud-based game selling service Steam saw its sales increase more than 200 percent year over year, thanks in part to the platform's expansion to Apple's Mac OS X operating system.

Valve, the maker of the Steam service, announced Monday that game sales increased more than 200 percent over the last 12 months. In addition, new users increased by 178 percent, and the service now has more than 30 million active accounts.

"Steam is on track to record the biggest year in its six year history," said Gabe Newell, president of Valve. "The year has marked major development advances to the platform with the introduction of support for Mac titles, the Steam Wallet and in-game item buying support, and more."

"We believe the growth in accounts, sales, and player numbers is completely tied to this work and we plan to continue to develop the platform to offer more marketing, sales, and design tools for developers and publishers of games and digital entertainment."

Steam for Mac launched this year in May, bringing with it top-tier titles like Half-Life 2, Left 4 Dead 2 and Team Fortress 2. Its availability to Mac gamers has also caused game developers to port their titles for users of Apple machines.

Though some of the growth in the last year is attributed to the Mac, Apple's hardware represents a relatively small share of the total users on Steam. The September 2010 Steam Hardware & Software Survey found that 2.36 percent of users were running Mac OS X 10.6.4, while another 1.59 percent had Mac OS X 10.6.3. In addition, 0.51 percent ran Mac OS X 10.5.8 as their primary operating system.

The Mac initially made a splash in the worldwide Steam presence when the platform was first launched. In May, the first full month of Steam's availability on Apple hardware, the Mac represented 8.46 percent of gamers.


The latest survey found that a majority of Mac users —46.78 percent —are on a MacBook Pro. Another 23.18 percent accessed Steam on an iMac, while 20.25 percent used a low-end MacBook. Rounding out the survey were the Mac Pro (5.41 percent) and Mac mini (3.44 percent).

Mac users are also equipped hardware-wise to run the latest games, as more than half of all users have 4GB of RAM. Another 7.99 percent have more than 5GB of RAM in their system.