Steam Gamers Are Avid BitTorrent Users

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With an interesting addition to its survey of customer hardware, Valve has now published its first set of stats detailing which software is installed on the computers of those using its Steam client. While Flash, Acrobat and Firefox dominate the listings, BitTorrent clients also make a significant appearance. uTorrent is installed on almost as many systems as iTunes.

SteamFor quite some time, video game developer and digital distribution company Valve has been collecting data from users of its Steam client. Up until now the only information gathered has related to the hardware they have installed in their machines, but now the company has made an interesting addition.

Starting July, Valve – which is believed to control around 70% of the digital distribution market for video games – also began collecting data about the software installed on the machines of its customer base. Although participation is voluntary, the sampling potential is significant since the company is believed to service around 25 million users.

Valve has just published the results of its data harvesting for July from its Windows users and the stats make interesting reading. With 100% install rate, the top position is understandably dominated by the Steam client itself. In second place with a 96.79% install rate is Adobe’s Flash Player, with Acrobat (73.18%), Firefox (63.05%) and Office (57.26%) completing the top five places. Eight Microsoft packages pad out the rest of the top 20 along with just one product from Apple – Quicktime.

While Steam is the most famous official game delivery platform around, Apple’s iTunes takes that accolade in the music sector. According to the survey it is installed on 30.73% of respondents’ machines, a fairly impressive result.

Perhaps even more significant though is the achievement of the package sitting directly below iTunes – the tiny but mighty uTorrent. The BitTorrent Inc. client is installed on the machines of 29.41% of Steam users and is the most popular file-sharing client in the entire list.

uTorrent nearly as popular as iTunes among Steam users


This high percentage of uTorrent users even beats the market share of the client among all BitTorrent users worldwide. According to data gathered in December 2009 from 357 million BitTorrent peer IDs, uTorrent was the client of choice for 25.77% of all BitTorrent users.

The Mainline BitTorrent client, which is in use by 4.81% of all torrent users worldwide, is installed on 5.28% of Steam user’s machines.

The Vuze client, also known by its previous label Azureus, is the client of choice for 4.37% of Steam customers. When taking a worldwide perspective Vuze does considerably better and is installed on the machines of around 24% of BitTorrent users, but unlike the Steam survey this data was not limited to Windows users.

The 5th most popular client with all BitTorrent users worldwide is BitComet. Overall it has a 4.01% market share, which betters its 2.44% install rate among Steam users.

It is safe to conclude that more than a third of all Steam users are also BitTorrent users, with the vast majority preferring the uTorrent application over others. Compared to average Internet users, Steam gamers are undoubtedly avid BitTorrent users.

Nonetheless, the Steam survey also shows that having access to free games doesn’t hold these users back from paying for games on Steam.

The full survey results can be found here.


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