13 people work on Steam, actually
Disregard the last post: I’ve heard directly from Valve that only thirteen of their staff work on Steam.
I just counted; there’s thirteen devs. This team is responsible for:
- The Steam client
- Custom installer work for games that need it
- Billing systems and online payment, and all the internal reporting and auditing
- The store
- The forums
- All the Valve websites, at least as far as keeping the machines online and running
- The Steam servers
- The server-side software, that is, Steam Communities and the server code that talks with the client
- The SteamCommunity.com web servers, plus the middleware that talks to the Steam Servers
- The hardware survey, mostly
- The statistics websites, both internal and public-facing
- Specifying, buying, installing, and repairing hardware for all those systems
- Secret projects
- Managing all the content servers around the world
If you’re thinking about the Steam team, that’s the list to think of — plus whatever else I’ve forgotten. There’s a bunch of guys who are kind of on the steam team who do game releases. They include five people total, probably, who get the games, test them, get them into Steam and distributable on the content servers, and then write the news updates and do the artwork for the storefront.
(I guess, somewhere in between, there’s people who lots of Steam stuff but aren’t really counted here. Like handling relationships with credit card companies, or doing support, or working with network providers to locate machines and negotiate bandwidth costs.)
This all comes by way of group chat messages with Valve’s Burton Johnsey (formerly known as tonjohn, SPUF old-timers). Burton can only think that other Tom got the numbers wrong — but as the currently 25-strong Steam group proves those numbers can and do fluctuate.
Some other titbits gleaned this evening: the number of staff at Valve is now around 200, and every one of them outside Steam is currently working on Left 4 Dead, and will move on to “more DLC for TF2, DLC for L4D, and EP3 among other things” once it ships.
If the first clutch of Official Game Groups can lead to all this in a few hours, they’re certainly going to be valuable resources in the future!