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Lots of money and a little ingenuity launched Steam user St4ck from obscurity to the highest level among the platform’s 120 million users—all in just a few months. St4ck took advantage of Steam’s infinitely upgradable Summer Sale Badge to amass card sets and points at a furious pace. The $13,000 he spent didn’t hurt.
St4ck had only achieved level 146 in March 2016. He vaulted all the way to level 1,113 by the beginning of July, pushing him past user PalmDesert, who had been Steam’s top user since the platform first started ranking members by level in July 2013. At the time of writing, St4ck is all the way up to level 1160, while PalmDesert is still stuck at level 1,111.
The gaming company Valve first established Steam in 2002 as a platform to release game updates. In 2004, Valve made Half-Life 2 the first of their games that required a Steam download. The next year, Valve allowed third-party developers to add games to the site. Now, Steam hosts more than 3,500 games. More than 10 million gamers are logged into the site at any given time.
St4ck spends more than 25 hours/week on Steam, and, as of July 2016, is most active in the games Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and APB Reloaded.