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Steam sees record-breaking online user count, could populate Canada

The past few weeks have seen millions more users than ever before log into Valve's PC gaming service, with records being repeatedly broken.

The head of Valve CEO Gabe Newell placed atop a suit, with a bar chart in the background, and a Steam logo on the right

Playing host to tens of millions of players across the globe, Steam has long held the position of the most popular PC gaming service. These past few weeks, though, show that the popularity of Valve’s storefront continues to be on the up, with back-to-back record breaking numbers of people logging in to Steam.

Since its humble beginnings in September 2003, it’s hard to adequately capture just how far Steam has come and how much of an effect it continues to have on the PC gaming landscape. Despite the rise (and fall) of many competitors, it remains one of, if not the, greatest place to find the best PC games and more, with additions such as the Steam Workshop and Community tabs making it more than just a simple storefront.

March 2024 has proven to be a fruitful month for Steam, and by extension Valve. At the beginning of the month, over 34 million users logged into the service, an all-time high. However, this record was then smashed again, just a week ago, as over 35 million users were recorded online. Now, the count has jumped higher still.

A screenshot from SteamDB, showing concurrent Steam user counts

According to SteamDB, Steam reached a new 24-hour peak of 36,354,393 online users on March 17 at 14:00 UTC. To put that into context, that’s just two million shy of Canada’s estimated population. Not everyone who was logged in was playing games, however, with that particular count coming in at 11, 576,186, which is still only a few hundred thousand short of Belgium’s estimated population.

It’s unclear what’s sparked this marked increase in Steam users. However, if the February 2024 Hardware Survey is any indication, we may be seeing an influx of players from China, given the rise and now dominance of ‘Simplified Chinese’ as the language of choice for the service. However, there’s only so much we can extrapolate from retroactive data.

If you’re new to Steam and are on the hunt for additions to your library, check out our best Steam Deck games list. The entries there play great on desktop PCs and Valve’s handheld alike, particularly if you’re running a budget-leaning system.