2021 was a very special year for Valve’s PC gaming storefront Steam. On November 28, Steam broke its concurrent user record by amassing a stunning 27.4 million user peak, with 7.8 million of those users currently in-game. It wasn’t the first time Steam had broken the record in 2021, and it looks like it won’t be a long-lasting record, either. Valve has yet again broken its Steam concurrent user record as of January 2, 2022, reaching nearly 28 million users online at one time.
To be more specific, at around 9:50 AM ET on Sunday, January 2, Steam measured a peak of exactly 27,942,458 concurrent users on the platform. That breaks the previous record of 27.4 million by over 500,000 users and leaves a new watermark that would seem impossible to overcome if Valve hadn’t already managed it several times over the past several years. As impressive as the new record is, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Steam cross the 28 million mark within the month.
The top games for the day won’t be surprising to any usual Steam user. The most played game of the day is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive with a peak of 867,147 players, followed by Dota 2 with a peak of 761,107 concurrent players. Below that was PUBG Battlegrounds with nearly 350,000 concurrent players, and Apex Legends with 221,000 players. Rounding out the top ten games were Grand Theft Auto 5, Naraka: Bladepoint, Team Fortress 2, New World, Rust, and ARK: Survival Evolved.
No significant events or otherwise appear to have directly influenced Steam’s new record. The Steam Winter Sale does last through January 5, and certainly didn’t hurt. Weekends, in general, typically have significantly more users on Steam than weekdays. But the number likely came together in most part due to the holiday season and to the ever-increasing number of PC gamers across the world.
The record does come as somewhat as a surprise, however. On Christmas, news broke that Steam had been added to the “great Chinese firewall,” a firewall that blocks traffic from many sources that the Chinese government no longer approves of. There was some worry that Steam would suffer as a result, due to its popularity in China. Clearly, the firewall hasn’t slowed down Chinese PC gamers.
Today’s record from Steam is yet another reminder that Valve’s PC gaming storefront is, for the foreseeable future, the home of gaming on personal computers. Even with the Epic Games Store growing, Xbox Game Pass on PC’s popularity spiking, and a robust selection of third-party storefronts, Steam remains the choice of PC gamers. Nearly 28 million users were on Steam at the same time on January 2. What makes it especially impressive is that Steam‘s likely to break it yet again further into 2022.