Steam broke a major record; here’s how many people are playing

The Steam Deck being held

Steam is a titan of the PC gaming industry and it seems to be growing daily, as it broke its long-standing concurrent user count record.

Steam celebrated its 20th anniversary in September 2023, but it was quite an eventful few months afterward. In October 2023, Steam was faced with a massive security breach, causing the platform to make major overhauls to its security. Once settled, Valve released the less-huffable Steam Deck OLED in November 2023, a marked improvement over the original Steam Deck.

The leading DRM is starting 2024 just as eventfully, as it gears up for a splashy start to the year with a slew of major releases. Valve has a lot of work ahead but the company ought to carve out a chunk of time to celebrate a milestone moment. 

Steam Users

What is Steam’s all-time peak for concurrent users?

Steam set an all-time peak player count of over 33 million active concurrent users in January 2024. Of that 34 million, over 8 million were in-game.

This tally actually falls short of the record for most concurrent in-game players on Steam. The all-time peak for that category came in January 2023, when Valve set the record by surpassing 10 million players in a game at once. Steam saw a major spike in user counts from 2020 to 2022, which propelled games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to all-time-high player counts at the time. That growth slowed to some degree into 2023 but Steam as a whole continued to grow.

No single game has propelled Steam to this record but the post-holidays uptick in players has seen games like Baldur’s Gate 3 continue growing, competitive multiplayer staples like Counter-Strike and Dota 2 remain strong, and there have been hot new releases like The Finals and its first battle pass and Lethal Company.

The Finals ban
The Finals

What are the most played games on Steam?

Counter-Strike 2, Dota 2, and PUBG: Battlegrounds consistently rank among the most-played games on Steam. Counter-Strike in particular has had a stranglehold on the top spot for years, as both CS2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. 

Several other games steadily rank among the most-played games on the platform. The latest Call of Duty, Apex Legends, Grand Theft Auto 5, Team Fortress 2, and Rust are typically on top. Hot single-player games will also pop into the top 10, though they don’t often hold onto those spots for long. 

Baldur’s Gate 3 has had excellent word-of-mouth and has bucked that trend to some degree. The fantasy RPG has steadily been in the top five since its launch in August and doesn’t seem likely to bleed players anytime soon.

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Written by Gab Hernandez

Gab Hernandez has a particular love for video games that give players control over the narrative direction, such as Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Disco Elysium. Gab spends just as much time playing games as they do gushing about them online to anyone who will listen. Their work has also been seen on TheGamer, Gfinity, and Wargamer, and you can follow them on Twitter / X at @HardlyWorkinGab.

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