Steam breaks its own concurrent player record again with 22 million players online over the weekend

Steam has yet again broken its own concurrent records, clocking up over 22 million simultaneous users over the weekend.

It was only last month that we reported Steam hit its highest ever concurrent users of 18,801,944, breaking the previous highest concurrent figure of 18,537,490 users set in January 2018, and then again last week, when it reached a new concurrent online user record of 20 million, with 6.2 million currently in-game.

As spotted by Steam Database (thanks, PC Gamer), 2,678,529 concurrently jumped on Steam on Saturday. As noted by PC Gamer, like other records broken in the past, the boost in numbers was mid-afternoon UK time, which coincides with evening hours in China and early morning in the United States.

“Steam just achieved a new peak concurrent user record of 22 million, one day after reaching 21 million and six days after reaching 20 million,” tweeted industry analyst, Daniel Ahmad. “Global lockdowns and self-isolation due to COVID-19 has led to at-home gaming becoming a safe form of entertainment to pass the time.”

The most popular game at the time the record was broken was Counter-Strike Global Offensive – which has been setting concurrent records of its own lately – along with Dota 2.

It’s widely hypothesised that self-isolation and the growing COVID-19 pandemic is contributing to the high use. A week ago, organisers of E3 – the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) – insisted it was continuing to “plan for a safe and successful” show later this year whilst “actively assessing” the coronavirus outbreak. Now E3 2020 has been cancelled, as has EGX Rezzed, GDC, and both Mojang and Electronic Arts have cancelled scheduled live events

Develop:Brighton 2020, however, is still planning to go ahead in June, as is Gamescom. BAFTA has confirmed it’s revising the format on its upcoming Games Awards in light of the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), too.

Bungie, EA, Nintendo and now Rockstar have all implemented homeworking to minimise staff exposure to the virus whilst Pokémon Go developer Niantic has made changes to the game to enable players to continue participating even whilst in self-isolation. The increase in people working from home and/or self-isolating, however, has put a strain on online services like Xbox Live and Nintendo Switch Online

A number of publishers have teamed up to create GDC Relief Fund to assist indie devs who may have lost money on paying in advance for the now-cancelled GDC.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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