Dota 2 has finally reclaimed the top spot on Steam. The throne had been held by PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds since it kickstarted the battle royale’s rise to global prominence in summer 2017, but Valve’s MOBA is now back on top.
In February, PUBG reached a peak player count of 931,000 (according to SteamCharts). That’s roughly in step with a gradual decline that’s been taking place since its all-time peak of 3.2 million in January 2018, but is still an awful lot of players. Dota 2, on the other hand, is very much on the up – in February, it reached a peak of nearly 965,000 players, its highest total since May 2017.
There are likely plenty of reasons behind those changes. PUBG may have slipped slightly more than usual last month as a result of the launch of Apex Legends, but Dota’s rise is likely down to the quiet success of Dota Auto Chess. The custom game mode now has more than 5.2 million subscribers, and boasts a peak concurrent player count of more than 140,000 people.
That figure would put the game comfortably within Steam’s top five most-played games. CS:GO, PUBG, and Dota 2 itself are all comfortably ahead, but earlier today, Auto Chess would have beaten Rainbow Six Siege to fourth by more than 4,000 players.
Related: Here’s a quick Dota Auto Chess guide
The custom game’s rise is likely to continue this month. If it does, it could help Dota 2 get back over the one million mark for the first time in more than two years. Rumours have circulated over the past couple of weeks to suggest the game’s developers are in conversation with both Valve and Tencent for a premium release, but we’re yet to get any confirmation on that front just yet.