The numbers don’t lie

Steam has seen a decline both in the number of people logged in to the service, as well as those playing games via Valve’s storefront/megalithic cornerstone of modern PC gaming.

The data was picked up on by SteamSpy – showing there’s still life in the old dog even post-shutdown – with SteamDB showing a 17 per cent decrease in those logged in to Steam since the peak month of January.

Additionally, there’s been a seven per cent decrease in the number of people actually playing games in the period, year on year.

It’s known colloquially to be the case, but data backs the fact that there’s an upsurge in player numbers towards the end of each year, peaking around January before beginning a fall into the summer, eventually ending up back at the start of the loop with numbers increasing again.

But this time around it’s a bit steeper than might be expected. Is it any cause for Valve to be worried? Time will tell, but some posit pretty straightforward explanations for the bigger-than-usual fall: PUBG.

The battle royale title was supremely popular at its launch in December 2017, and has since seen player numbers dwindle by the million – a higher high than usual, followed by a lower low. The PUBG numbers don’t completely plug the gap of Steam’s shrinking playerbase, but it’s sure to prove true at least in part.

For everyone else, we’ll have to come up with another explanation – and if it continues in this direction Steam is going to have to pull out something special to plug those leaks.

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