Valve Says Around 2.2 Million Australians Use Steam

Valve Says Around 2.2 Million Australians Use Steam

You probably know from earlier today that Valve recently lost their case in Federal Court against the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). If you haven’t caught up on that, you should do so.

But the case has also brought out an extra bit of information: namely, the number of Steam accounts in Australia.

As the ACCC does with all of their media releases, the consumer watchdog provides a bit of background into the case. The background is pretty familiar for most gamers though: Steam is Valve’s digital distribution service, Valve made more than US$3 billion in revenue last year, and there are more than 125 million active Steam accounts.

Something you probably didn’t know: around 2.2 million of those accounts are used by Australians. That figure was filed into evidence by Valve six months ago, according to the ACCC’s media team.

But what’s really interesting is how rapid that figure has grown. When the case was only just starting, it was an accepted fact that there were only 1.4 million users in Australia. Here’s the relevant quote from Justice Jagot’s judgement on September 16, 2014:

In the present case, there are undoubtedly case management benefits for the Court in allowing substituted service. The reason for this is that the evidence adduced in order to establish a prima facie case is to the effect that the alleged representations which are said to be misleading and deceptive or likely to mislead and deceive are continuing; they are being made to users of the Steam platform in Australia, which is said to involve some 1.4 million people.

It’s still highly doubtful that there are, or ever were, millions of individual users of Steam down under. What’s more likely is that the 2.2 million figure applies to the amount of individual Steam accounts originating from Australia.

Nevertheless, it’s a good sign for PC gaming in Australia: around 800,000 extra Steam accounts from the middle of September 2014 to October 2015, or just over 61,538 accounts on average a month.


  • something that can account for that increase is the release of the PS4 and Xbone not being as powerful as some might have been expecting and the couple with the fact thast there are less platform exclusives now and more PC devs are starting to open back up to allowing modding

    • I’d argue the larger factor would be the disparity between PC and the tail end of the 360/ps3 gen.

    • Yer a relatively modest pc can run games better than their console brethren – heck even laptops tbh (laptops are not exactly cheap tho). Generally speaking the games are cheaper and perform better (which in the long run can pay for the difference in price).

      I have no hate for consoles tho – they have their place but generally speaking the PC just does everything better if you are tech savvy.

  • My introduction to Steam was its play for the Mac set with a free copy of Portal way back when. I think I played exactly one match of Team Fortress 2 with those apple-style earpohones too.

    Would the amount of people using Australian addresses as a means to unlock stuff like XCOM or whatever a mere hour before another timezone skew these numbers?

    • Would the amount of people using Australian addresses as a means to unlock stuff like XCOM or whatever a mere hour before another timezone skew these numbers?

      Yes, not just that but they might count people that sign up for the free weekend games but never buy, some people also create accounts for f2p games and cheat so their VAC stays in good standing on their main account. Active users are probably considerably lower than the number presented.

      • By the same token there are plenty of people and families who share steam accounts. So these numbers will be all over the place.

        • Yer but that is still only one active account. Unless they’re using offline tricks you can’t have two people playing on the same account at the same time (correct me if that’s changed).

          • That hasn’t changed. Can’t play more than one game on one account at a time without trickery.

    • Because that would be an outright admission that they sell to Australians. Even with the geolocking, utilization of OFLC ratings, and price differentiations, they probably hoped that they could find some loophole in Australian consumer law that would give them an excuse to gouge us.

      You know, the actions of a company that hasn’t bothered to read about consumer law outside their own jurisdiction because they assume that they can EULA users into being in their jurisdiction. Which Australia and several other countries have also specifically prohibited, which they would have known if they opened a damn book on consumer laws for outside the US.

  • The only difference between Steam and any other physical store was Steam didn’t refund. They have for some time now. Lesson learnt

  • Why is the 2.2m figure so hard to believe? There are around 9.3m households in Australia, and 6.6m fixed broadband subscriptions in June 2015 according to OECD stats.

    Its not inconceivable that there are 2.2m Steam accounts. I’m sure there arent 2.2m active users, but thats another story!

    • yeah, “we have no information on how many australians use steam except this figure provided by valve in a court of law, we choose to use this otherwise complete lack of information to work entirely from unsubstantiated supposition and not provide any alternative theories or facts.” the article may as well be a youtube comment.

      i know these guys arent journalists, but sheesh theyre setting a bad example for critical thinkers everywhere.

    • I know, right? I have a steam account but so far I have spent $0 dollars on it. There are other sites that charge Australian dollars and cheaper!

    • New Zealand’s version of steam is in NZD… but Australia’s is not in AUD. Stinks to high heaven. They know they can make more money off us by not being clear about their pricing, so they don’t change it.

      • blame the ACCC for that one, AUD support was about to come, but now not so much

        • No I blame valve for being spiteful. Your logic is messed up if you blame the ACCC for protecting Aussie consumers.

          • I’m well aware of what happened but that doesn’t change whos fault it is.

            Let’s make this easy for you.

            Valve broke Australian consumer law (this is a bad thing to do). ACCC took action against the breach of Australian consumer law (this is a good thing because they want to protect Australian consumers). Valve decided to punish Australian consumers more (another bad thing) out of spite of being held to account for their bad practises…. Who do you think is at fault here?

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