Just in time for the release of Half-Life: Alyx, Valve’s gargantuan platform has hit a new record. More than 20.3 million concurrent players were on the service early Monday morning, a record for the platform since it first launched in 2003.
Steam’s previous record was broken in early February, when more than 18.8 million players were using the service at once. That was even though fewer people were actually in-game at the time, as SteamDB pointed out. But now, that record has been shattered. Not only are there more concurrent users in total, with 20,313,476 a healthy jump on the previous record. There’s more people in-game than there was before, but as SteamDB noted, the amount of users playing games (7 million versus 6.395 million at this morning’s peak) is still shy of what it was a couple of years ago.
#Steam has just reached a new concurrent online user record of 20 million, with 6.2 million currently in-game, likely due to many people staying at home due to the #coronavirus.https://t.co/bzLMfMOJvD#COVID19
— Steam Database (@SteamDB) March 15, 2020
The reasons are fairly obvious. With Steam officially expanding to China and the coronavirus keeping millions of people cooped up inside. That makes it difficult for employers, and I’m talking completely hypothetically here, to stop their workers from occasionally having Civilization 6 on a second screen.
That said, the major beneficiary has undoubtedly been Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. CS:GO‘s player base just continues to grow, with the game having more than one million concurrent players today, 300,000 more than Dota 2 and almost twice as much as PUBG. But plenty of games on the service have a healthy playerbase: there was still more than 80,000 players in games like Rust, TF2, Rocket League, Borderlands 3 and almost the same amount playing Warframe on PC.
And what’s interesting about the numbers is while the total concurrents has risen markedly, the real rise is the amount of people in-game over the last week. On March 9, the peak number of players actually playing games was just over 4.8 million, while the peak number of people using Steam was 16.7 million. So in just over a week, more than 1.5 million people are actually playing games on Steam, and potentially looking for more games to play.