Valve's Greg Coomer has posted on the official Steam site with a significant update detailing the current status of the digital distribution system and what the company's main priorities are at the moment.
According to Coomer, the number of people simultaneously playing over the network reached an all-time high last weekend, apparently indicating that the network has stabilised a great deal since the service's launch and not, for example, indicating that everyone's finally managed to download what they wanted. Valve's release of Steam installations pre-packaged with available content like Counter-Strike or Day of Defeat certainly helped to "stabilise" the network, even if it did sort of defeat the object of Steam in the first place.
In anticipation of the Counter-Strike: Condition Zero release in the US and via Steam on November 18th, Coomer says Valve will be adding plenty of new content servers and bandwidth to hopefully avoid the first distribution of a retail product on the service falling flat on its face. Elsewhere, the much-needed offline play feature that will finally allow LAN play is nearing completion, and the anti-cheat measures that result in the banning of accounts are finally starting to take effect.
As usual, Valve appears optimistic that Steam will be able to pull off another major release, but past evidence is casting a cloud of cynicism over Valve's persistent attempt to remove the publisher middlemen. Hopefully this time, our doubts are going to be proven misplaced.