Steam just clocked its highest-ever number of concurrent users on the platform, hitting nearly 28 million players logged in January 2. The new record, 27,942,036, comes after a period of steady growth that began last July.
Early January is typically a strong time of year for Steam player counts, thanks in part to the holiday season for workers and students in many countries getting a bit of holiday time off. Over the past two years, that effect has been magnified by the covid-19 pandemic, which has resulted in more people spending more time indoors near their PCs. In November, Steam broke its previous record by logging more than 27 million concurrent users, and it set a new high water mark over the weekend.
It’s worth noting that the majority – 20 million or so – of the ‘concurrent players’ counted in this record-setting figure weren’t playing a game at the time, they were simply logged into Steam. Still, the number provides a pretty good idea of the platform’s growth over time. The most-played games of the moment are some perennial favourites: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, PUBG: Battlegrounds, and Apex Legends make up the top five, with Naraka: Bladepoint and Amazon Games’ fledgling MMORPG New World creeping into the top ten as the only games on that list released in the past year.
It’s no surprise that many of the most popular games on Valve’s platform are among the best free Steam games available, so check out that link if you want to join in on the fun.