It’s a happy new year indeed for Valve – we’re only a few days into 2021, but the company has once again broken its own record for the highest number of concurrent users on its digital PC platform, Steam.
This is the seventh time the record has been broken in 12 months, most recently when it hit 24,776,635 concurrent users in mid-December. Before then, the highest concurrent player count seen on Steam was 22 million users.
Steam saw an unprecedented number of players concurrently online back when the pandemic first surged, resulting in millions of people going into lockdown. Now, according to SteamDB (thanks, PC Gamer), Valve’s PC platform has hit another record high, with 25,415,080 concurrent users on the service yesterday, 2nd January, 2021.
Though only speculation, it’s thought a combination of the colder weather, pandemic lockdowns, and the release of Cyberpunk 2077 have all had an impact on the figures and of course, not all 25 million were actively playing – most accounts were idle at the time, with “only” 7.4 million actively in-game at the time the record was broken.
The record of 18.5 million concurrent players – which was originally set at the height of PUBG’s popularity in January 2018 – has been broken several times since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. On 2nd February a new high of 18.8m was set when China went into lockdown around Chinese New Year, and then again just a week later, when 19.1m were online when CNY was extended.
When Europe went into lockdown in March, Steam noted another new record when 20.3m of us were online on 15th March. On the 20th this was beaten once more – 21.1 million of us were all online at the same time – and then that record was topped once again on 21st March 2020.