Update, October 11: PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is still growing, breaking its own records again this week.
At a certain point, you might start to wonder whether people will ever stop buying PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. According to Steamdb, the most recent figures show that sales have topped 15 million, while the game’s peak concurrent player count has top two million.
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To put that in perspective, that concurrent player count is more than 700,000 higher than Dota 2, Valve’s MOBA which once held Steam’s concurrent player record, ever managed. It could be a while before PUBG catches up to Dota’s number of total owners, which currently sits at 116 million, but at this point I wouldn’t rule it out. In the meantime, it’s worth noting that the game now has so many players that it can’t reset its leaderboards properly.
Update, October 10th: The absurd rise of PUBG continues unabated, with the game demolishing its ~1.5 million concurrent player peak of 3 weeks ago and coming within an inch of two million yesterday.
1,984,278 is a very large number. It's also a number unprecedented on Steam, perhaps rivalling even the most successful of MMOs at their peak. That's how many people were playing PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds last night, October 9th. The game has now also sold over 13 million copies, forcing a scrambling expansion of the server infrstructure needed to support the enormous community.
As extraordinary as that number is by itself, consider this: No major updates have been released for the game this week, or even in the past few weeks. While there are massive upgrades due for the game in the near future, including a vastly upgraded movement system and a second environment, recent updates have only been incremental.
The odds have been stacked against PUBG. Review-bombing from upset Chinese players tarred the game in the headlines, and a direct competitor launched in the form of Fortnite's F2P and standalone Battle Royale mode. Any other game would have slowed its growth with an industry juggernaut like Epic taking a swing at it, but this train apparently has no brakes.
When they finally roll out the next big upgrade for this game, expect to see it break all records again by a much larger margin. Two million might even seem small.
Update, September 25: Have you heard about this indie Early Access game called Battlegrounds? It now accounts for 10% of Steam's active users at any given time.
Last weekend, Steam hit 15 million concurrent users, and the peak got even higher this weekend, with a total of 15,494,146 players simultaneously signed in according to SteamDB. Perhaps most impressive of all, nearly 10% of that share is made up by PUBG players, with 1,529,218 in game at the same time.
It seems PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is more than picking up the slack left by games like Valve’s own Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which have been dropping off from their own peaks in recent months. Dota 2 saw a weekend high of just under 800k, compared with an all-time peak of nearly 13 million. Similarly, CS:GO has hovered around 600k compared to an 800k peak.
If you’re of a mind to promote some sick rivalry between PC and console, you might point at the number of PUBG players and then the number of Destiny 2 players, which Bungie reported as 1.2 million across both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. I certainly won’t but, you know, you could.
Update September 16, 2017: The stratospheric rise of Battlegrounds seems unlikely to slow any time soon, as the game breaks the all-time record for concurrent players on Steam.
Shattering Dota 2's record of 1.29m concurrent players - the highest the platform had ever seen - sooner than expected, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds cleared the 1.3m barrier today, according to Steamcharts, with every chance to go higher before the wekeend is over.
The former Arma 3 mod overtaking Dota 2's all-time record is an especially notable feat considering that Dota 2 is free-to-play, developed, published and promoted by Valve, the platform-holders, and PUBG is a premium-priced Early Access title from a small team of modders turned independent developers. To further put that figure into perspective, Destiny 2 clocked in at a mere 1.2m combined concurrent players across two major platforms at launch.
Interestingly, it seems that Battlegrounds may be expanding the market as a whole. The number of players it's gaining can't be explained by the number lost from Counter-Strike and Dota 2 in recent months, Further backing this up is the fact that Steam itself hit a new all-time concurrent user-count, as observed on Reddit here. PC gaming is bigger than it's ever been, and apparently an otherwise uneventful Saturday is the day to break records.
Update September 8, 2017: PUBG passed a million concurrent users today, and all other videogame developers have retired in despair.
That's not quite the all-time record - Dota 2, at the literal peak of its popularity, managed 1,295,114 concurrent players, according to SteamDB. If PUBG can keep growing at this rate, it's likely that PlayerUnknown will claim that record, too.
Nonetheless, this makes PUBG only the second game in history to break a million concurrent players. To be precise, it peaked at 1,028,540 today, leaving Dota 2 - whose lead once looked so unassailable - in a distant second place with 'only' 768,713.
Update, September 5: Bluehole have announced the biggest sales milestone for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds yet, with over ten million units sold.
To say PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is wildly popular would be far more than an understatement. It’s typically the top game on Twitch, it’s regularly passing Dota 2 on Steam’s concurrent players chart now, and altogether it has become an absolutely inescapable phenomenon. Plus it’s not even technically out yet.
That hasn’t stopped people from buying the Early Access game in droves, and developers Bluehole have announced that, as of September 1st, PUBG has sold over ten million times. That’s a number any game short of Call of Duty would be killing for. PUBG is also on track to hit one million concurrent players, and that’s going to happen by the end of the week in our estimation.
For reference, Steam’s former top game was Dota 2, which is completely free and buoyed by a massive competitive scene. PUBG costs money, and has only begun taking steps into the world of esports with the recent Invitational event at Gamescom. That event still managed to draw in over 500,000 viewers on Twitch and 5.6 million on Chinese streaming service PandaTV, showing just how much room PUBG has left to grow.
Update, September 4: If previous trends are anything to go by, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is going to hit one million concurrent players by the end of this week, more than Dota 2 and CS:GO.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is set to break yet another milestone this weekend. In the next seven days, the survival game is set to reach the dizzying heights of one million concurrent players.
According to SteamDB, in just the last month the peak player count on PUBG has risen from around 520,000 all the way to 970,000, which it hit yesterday. This means that the peak number of concurrent players rose by more than 100,000 a week during August, and that the game will likely smash through the one million mark by the end of this week.
For the record, Dota 2 rarely manages to get past that mark. Valve’s MOBA got to 1.3 million in April 2016, but hasn’t got past the million mark since February. Meanwhile, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive peaked at around 800,000 in January. Those are two games that have potentially reached their peak and are limited to PC releases. PUBG is still growing incredibly fast, and is prepping for an Xbox One release in the near future, too.
It wouldn’t surprise me if PUBG went straight past a million during this week. On current numbers, it could have got there by Wednesday, and might be on its way to 1.1 million by the end of the week.
Update August 28, 2017: It’s finally done it. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has knocked Dota 2 off its throne and become the most popular game on Steam. It hit a high of 877,884 players on Sunday, surpassing Dota 2 by about 29,000 people.
It seems that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is hellbent on staying at the top of the Steam charts, as it has kept its lead over Dota 2 over the weekend. At time of writing, PUBG sits at around 753,949 concurrent users, with Dota 2 lagging behind at 729,822 players.
Brendan ‘PlayerUnknown’ Greene relayed the happy news on Twitter, thanking the community for their continued support:
As for where these players are coming, PUBG is poaching many players from other shooters. According to stats collected by Steam Spy, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is pulling in “the most engaged players of CS:GO and H1Z1,” with those CS:GO players now playing “30% less CS:GO” than your average person on Steam. The lure of a chicken dinner is mighty strong.
55% of PUBG owners are CS:GO players. They used to play CS:GO 50% more than an average person, now they play 30% less.— Steam Spy (@Steam_Spy) August 28, 2017
Update August 27, 2017: With only Dota left in its sights, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is awfully close to being the most played game on Steam. This weekend it hit 810,668.
In a single week, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has picked up another 100,000 players. Who knows where it keeps finding them? You'd think there'd be no players left at this point, maybe it found them hiding down the back of the sofa.
Brendan 'PlayerUnknown' Greene shared the news on Twitter:
OVER 800,000! pic.twitter.com/KGeG1GjpLv
— PLAYER @ GAMESCOM (@PLAYERUNKNOWN) August 26, 2017
From here, there is only one game ahead on Steam, Valve's own Dota 2. It's only 30,000 players ahead... only. At the rate Battlegrounds is going it may have passed that by this time next week.
Update August 20, 2017: The world's most popular game of the moment just keeps getting bigger - PUBG passes another sales and concurrent player milestone.
Not only has Battlegrounds amassed a ludicrous 699,231 concurrent player peak on Steam, it's passed eight million copies sold - without even being released on consoles yet.That's a rate of about two million copies a month, and it only seems to be increasing in rate - the new peak was hit just a week after the previous one, and the new sales figure is only a week and a half after the 6.5 million sales point. It's getting pretty crazy.
This was all announced over on the Microsoft Gamescom 2017 stream. They also mentioned Bluehole and Microsoft were increasing their partnership, so probably don't expect it on PlayStation 4 any time soon.
Update August 14, 2017: PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is Steam's second game by concurrent players.
For years now, it's been a truth universally acknowledged that the highest a non-Valve game will place in Steam's most-played charts is number three. Even to the likes of GTA V and H1Z1: King of the Kill, the lead of Valve's behemoths Dota 2 and CS:GO has seemed unassailable. No longer.
Over the weekend, SteamCharts indicates that PUBG peaked at 611,676 concurrent players, surpassing CS:GO and becoming the first non-Valve game in absolutely ages to break Steam's top two.
And it doesn't look like it's a fluke. At time of writing, Steam's more recent stats show PUBG is still ahead of CS:GO by about 17,000 players, and that its peak for the last 24 hours was 614,781 - about 70,000 ahead of CS:GO. That's more than 240,000 players behind Dota 2's peak, but hey, PUBG shows no sign of slowing down.
And it's still in Early Access, for pity's sake.
Update August 11, 2017: PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has passed the 6.5 million sales mark, overtaking survival deathmatch competitor H1Z1: King of the Kill.
The milestone was noticed by NeoGAF, using SteamSpy estimates that PUBG now has approximately 50,000 more owners (who haven't necessarily played the game) than King of the Kill.
We asked a number of developers what they think of SteamSpy's accuracy, and most admitted it was pretty bang on.
PUBG shows no signs of losing momentum, as it was only a week ago the game hit 500,000 concurrent players, making it second on the Steam charts only to Dota 2. For more information, read on below.
Update August 4, 2017: Player Unknown's Battlegrounds hit more than 500,000 concurrent players.
The march of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds' popularity appears to know no bounds, the game just hit a new milestone: more than 500,000 concurrent players.
We just broke 500k! Thank you all so very much for your continuing support! <3 pic.twitter.com/FXnsy6twGX
— PLAYERUNKNOWN (@PLAYERUNKNOWN) August 4, 2017
Frankly, that's a phenomenal achievement. It's now the second most popular game on Steam by that metric, only falling behind Dota 2. Valve's Moba is still 200,000 concurrent players ahead, but suddenly that doesn't seem like all that much ground to cover.
Update July 31, 2017: PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has broken yet another record.
The sensation that is PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds continues. Just days after we learned it has sold six million copies without having left the cocoon of Early Access, its creator announces that it has become the most-played non-Valve game on Steam ever.
Brendan 'PlayerUnknown' Greene himself tweeted the news.
We now hold the record for the highest peak player count of any non-Valve game! GG WP everyone <3 pic.twitter.com/cHjXPeSE8p— PLAYERUNKNOWN (@PLAYERUNKNOWN) July 30, 2017
Valve's babies Couter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 have had the top spots locked down for ages and enjoy various advantages as their creators also own Steam, so third-party games are essentially fighting for third place. In winning that fight, Battlegrounds has taken down such giants as Fallout 4 and GTA V. And it's not even (properly) out yet.
Update July 28, 2017: Another week another million copies.
According to a press release announcing PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds first offline esports invitational, the game has sold six million copies. Just last week the game had broken through five million sales.
This is getting silly now.
Update July 21, 2017: A quick look at Steam Spy will tell you PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds just won't stop.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, in case you've been busy fighting an actual battle royale for the past few months, is the game of the moment. It's now passed five million owners on Steam in an incredibly short amount of time.
It's perhaps most impressive given that it only hit four million on June 29, less than a month ago. As always with Steam Spy, the figures aren't necessarily accurate so take them with a pinch of salt, but getting even close to a million copies sold a month - especially without a single price decrease - is going to secure any game's future. Were everyone to decide to stop buying PUBG literally tomorrow, it'd probably still be in a good spot.
It's regularly the third most played game on Steam, and is catching up with CS:GO in both average and peak concurrents, via SteamCharts. Even after all that, it doesn't seem to have gone to PlayerUnknown's - Brendan Greene to his parents - head, who has been dealing with various dramas expertly.
The game surely can't keep up this pace for long - but I would have said the same about three months ago when it first became a hot topic. I still don't own it, for example, and many seem reticent to go all-in while it's still in Early Access. That initial full launch window, especially if it's the first time the game sees a significant discount, could prove disastrous to wallets everywhere.
Original story, May 25, 2017: April’s digital PC sales figures are in and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is topping the charts for premium PC digital sales. It has even broken into the top ten overall games, alongside the likes of subscription titles like World of Warcraft, as well as games with microtransaction models such as League of Legends.
The battle royale survival game sits in seventh place on the overall digital earnings chart, right above World of Warcraft (East) but below World of Warcraft (West). Unsurprisingly, LoL tops the charts with Korean tactical FPS Crossfire coming in second place. The full table can be seen below.
Despite having been in Early Access for barely two months, PUBG has received a lot of critical acclaim for its tight, focused gameplay and tendency to produce exciting emergent narratives. Despite its quality, I don’t think many would have predicted just how popular the game has become. Least of all the developers themselves, who are struggling to keep up with the demand for patches and updates.