Valve announced its online Steam platform now has more than 15 million accounts. The game developer says Steam sales grew 158% year-over-year through the holiday season.
The year also marked the debut of the Steam Community and launch of several best-selling and critically-acclaimed titles such as Call of Duty 4, Bioshock, and The Orange Box. Throughout 2008 more Community features will be introduced to support existing games as well as new titles such as Valve's Left 4 Dead.
Also new for Steam in 2008 is Steamworks, giving game developers access to game features and services available on Steam ranging from product key authentication and copy protection to auto-updating, social networking and matchmaking. Most importantly, the game features and services available in Steamworks are free of charge and can be used for both electronic and tangible versions of games.
"PC gaming is thriving, and has evolved into an era of constant connectivity," said Gabe Newell, president of Valve. "That connectivity gives us the ability to have a much better relationship with customers, not just for delivering our games, but across all aspects of our business - including the design, development, and support of our games. Features like Guest Passes, Free Weekends, Gifting, and the Steam Community have been very well received both by customers and the developers who are using Steam. We are accelerating our release of new functionality in the next year as well as finding new ways to work with our partners such as the release of Steamworks, which allows them to bring the many benefits of Steam to their packaged products."