A packed Benaroya Hall watches "Natus Vincere," pictured on the screen, battle "The Alliance" during "The International" Dota 2 video game competition in Seattle, Washington August 11, 2013. Sixteen teams from 12 countries ba
The International 2015 DOTA 2 Championships will be aired by Astro this year. REUTERS

Game developer Steam ushered in the New Year with a bang as it broke the record for most number of users simultaneously online during the holidays. A total of 8.5 million players were online during New Year's Day with many attributing the voluminous figure to the enticing holiday sale Steam held over the Christmas season.

Steam, which develops familiar massive online gaming e-sports brands such as "Defence of the Ancients 2" (DOTA 2), "Counter Strike: Global Offensive", "Team Fortress 2" and "Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim," was also the indirect beneficiary of the massive hack attack on gaming consoles Playstation 4 and Xbox One as these were targeted by anonymous cyber terrorists during the holiday season. The free-to-play characteristic of these games also makes it an easy access for players worldwide, which understandably supports much of its global success.

"DOTA 2" still paved the way for most number of users, with over 874,00 players using the software on Jan. 1 and "Counterstrike" a distant second with 360,000 users. The total of 8.5 online users on that day was presumably taking advantage of several online gaming store offers that was extended beyond 2014. This is huge development as compared with the summer sale that Steam proliferated that saw them clock a record of six million users simultaneously online.

Still, the figures that were most encouraging are for "DOTA 2," which has now clocked a total of 10,123,495 players by last month's count. The success of "DOTA 2" stands to be challenged as game developers Valve is expected to hold out the e-sports game for a period of time due to a mysterious engine update.

"As we mentioned in September, there are a number of features in the works for Dota 2 that we're really excited to share with you." explained Valve on its website. "Among them is a major improvement to Dota 2's engine that we are aiming to release in the first half of next year."

The supposed changes to the engine have largely impacted other usually fruitful events of "DOTA 2," one of which is the annual Christmas event "Frostivus," which was the main casualty of the updates. In the past, Steam and Valve countered with a new offering such as "The Greevling" or "Wraith Night," but so far, no other event has taken its place. In the meantime, the developers will be encouraged that despite the omission, "DOTA 2" continues to pave the way for the e-sports world.