Steam hits 5 million concurrent users

Steam starts the year strong, with news that the 2011 holiday season saw peak-time user counts break the 5 million mark for Valve’s digital distribution service. That's not 5 million total logins: that's 5 million people, all online and gaming at the same time.

Skyrim's themes of snowy wealth-accretion clearly resonated with a holiday audience: Bethesda's epic commanded peak-time user counts of almost 50,000 more players than the nearest runner-up, Sega's Football Manager 2012. Other games driving up Valve's user counts include the company's own Counter-Strike titles and Team Fortress 2.

While a slump in peak-user counts coincides with this week's return to work hours, the 4.7M users online in the last 24 hours is still a pretty lofty goal for any of Valve's competitors to work toward – or for the company itself to build upon.