Valve may have effectively minimised piracy of its own back catalogue via Steam, but over a third of the download store's users have a BitTorrent client installed too.
The figures come from the first collation of results from the Steam Software Survey, which Valve launched last month. According to the figures, 29.4 per cent of the gamers surveyed had the light-weight µTorrent client installed, but other torrent clients also show up on the list. Among these are Vuze with 4.37 per cent, BitComet with 2.44 per cent and the regular BitTorrent client with 5.28 per cent.
Of course, Steam users could be legitimately using their torrent clients to share their own files, but we'd be very surprised if there wasn't a fair amount of game piracy going on as well.
It's also worth noting that some people could have several torrent clients installed on the same machine, meaning you can't just add up the figures. However, it's a safely conservative estimate that over a third of the Steam users surveyed are using BitTorrent in some form.
As a point of comparison, this makes BitTorrent more popular than the in-game chat app Team Speak, which could be found on 18 per cent of the PCs surveyed. Perhaps more interestingly though, BitTorrent appears to be even more popular than Internet Explorer.
Microsoft's ubiquitous browser was apparently only installed on 19.82 per cent of machines, which strikes us as a little odd, seeing as it comes with most previous versions of Windows as standard. We'd be interested to see how Steam detects Internet Explorer, because it may just be picking up versions of the browser installed independently from the one supplied with the OS.
Meanwhile, Firefox proved to be the most popular browser, sitting on 63.05 per cent of machines, while Google's Chrome browser could only be found on 11.56 per cent of them. The most popular piece of software overall (not counting Windows) was Adobe's Flash Player, which was installed on 96.79 per cent of the PCs surveyed.
Of course, the other factor to consider here is that not every Steam user is currently being surveyed. The software survey is only found in the Beta Steam client at the moment, and users have the choice to opt out if they want. Either way, Steam clearly has a lot of results suggesting file-sharing is rife among its users.