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Steam is a digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer and communications platform developed by Valve Corporation. It is used to distribute games and related media online, from small independent developers to larger software houses. Steam also has community features, automated game updates, in-game voice and chat functionality.
As of January 2012, there are 1492 games available through Steam, and 40 million active user accounts. The concurrent users peak was 5 million on January 2nd, 2012. Although Valve never releases sales figures, Stardock, the previous owner of competing platform Impulse, estimated that, as of 2009, Steam had a 70% share of the digital distribution market for video games.
Many major publishers have large catalogues available on Steam, including Bethesda Softworks, Activision, Rockstar Games, Square Enix, 2K Games, and Telltale Games.