The Steam Review

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13 people work on Steam, actually

A correction :: October 14th, 2008 :: Valve :: 23 Responses

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 web servers, plus the middleware that talks to the Steam Servers
  • SteamWorks
  • The hardware survey, mostly
  • The statistics websites, both internal and public-facing
  • SteamCloud
  • Specifying, buying, installing, and repairing hardware for all those systems
  • DRM
  • VAC
  • 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). [The particular quote above was originally by Mike Blaszczak, however] 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! 🙂

23 Responses to this post:


  1. Tolkienfanatic Says:

    “Secret projects”


  2. Tom Says:

    Yeah, my mistake. When I first visited Valve, they occupied two floors. I had a tour of the one where all the game teams worked, and Doug said the one below was the Steam guys. Since that CVG article was wild conjecture, I wasn’t being too rigorous with my assumptions about what that meant.

  3. tonjohn Says:

    The big quote is actually from MikeBlas, posted here –

  4. Tom Edwards Says:

    Consider both of yourselves slapped on the wrist. I’ve already done myself. 😉

  5. Andy Simpson Says:

    Wow, that’s a lot of people on L4D, but then it’s going to have to be gold pretty soon in order to give it time to get certified for the 360 and still make it out on time.

    Anyways, isn’t SteamCloud supposed to be shipping with L4D? I imagine the Steam guys have got their work cut out for them too.

  6. mupet0000 Says:

    So thats why they dont fix the bugs i report about the steam server browser, I opened a ticket about my problem some months ago, now they have actually closed my question without a reply.


  7. Harry Says:

    so they havent even started on that portal game they talked about at E3 :/

  8. Tom Edwards Says:

    They aren’t working on it today, but that doesn’t mean nobody has ever done anything.

  9. Mike Blaszczak Says:

    “MikeBlas” is short for “Mike Blaszczak”, by the way. Thanks for all the coverage!

  10. Andy Simpson Says:

    Just noticed something interesting in the L4D demo preload: looks like the GCF file format has bit the dust, as L4D uses NCF.

    There seem to be some new .vpk files in the left4dead folder, presumably occupying some kind of niche similar to the old Quake pak files.

  11. Maury Says:

    “Secret projects” o.o

  12. Jimmy Ieftin Says:

    @mupet0000, I have the same problems as you and the support seems to be very unfriendly with the customers. I believe this 13 people team has a problem. Without a good organizational structure, the effect to the clients will not be the best. Best regards, Jimmy Ieftin

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