Steam / Valve

Steam twice breaks record with 26.4 million concurrent users

Business is booming for Valve as Steam is setting new records again and again.

One of the biggest video game industry stories of 2020 was the rapid growth of Steam, which was due in part to global travel restrictions. Now almost a year removed from that stretch, Steam’s growth hasn’t yet slowed. 

According to a number of reports, Steam hit 26.4 million concurrent users on February 8. This continued the climb from the prior weekend, which saw the concurrent user count break the previous record of 25.3 million on January 2 by more than a million users.

The record comes following a number of major PC game releases, as well as an upswing for a number of different titles published by Valve. It also comes as a number of key business deals have been secured by Valve that position the platform for even greater success moving forward.

What are the biggest games on Steam?

Steam broke its concurrent user count with a fairly standard list of games topping the charts. The top six Steam games on the day included the following:

  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  • Dota 2
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
  • Rust
  • Team Fortress 2
  • Apex Legends

Most of these are no surprise. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has topped Steam’s user counts steadily for months now. The tactical shooter has been on a steady climb since going free-to-play in 2019 and the rollout of seasonal Operation events have only driven that number higher. CSGO now comfortably sits above former chart-topper Dota 2, which has been on the decline for years but has steadied itself on the heels of a number of major content releases.

Rust has regained popularity in recent months as a go-to game for popular streamers. In the same way influencers pushed Among Us to shocking new heights, survival sim Rust has become one of Steam’s top games.

Apex Legends is a relative newcomer, though it’s not really a new release in the way that games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Valheim are. Valve and EA Games reunited in 2020 after years apart from one another, bringing a number of games to Steam including Mass Effect 3, Dead Space 3, and A Way Out. While those past releases haven’t blown up on Steam, battle royale title Apex Legends has been a steady presence near the top since its release on Valve's platform.

The one strange game on the list is Team Fortress 2. Though it has long flown under the radar, the hero shooter has been on an upswing since December. This follows Valve updating the game’s map rotation and rising interest in the game’s competitive scene.

Though these games are all big in their own way, none of them come close to the heights reached by PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in 2018. That game broke Steam’s all-time concurrent player count several times over in January 2018 when it peaked at 3,236,027 and averaged 1,584,886.8. 

The years have not been kind to it since, as other battle royales have eclipsed it in popularity. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds still hit over 384,000 concurrent players on February 8 and helped push Steam towards this record number.

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