Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, which has put most of the world into lockdown, many people started to seek entertainment in online games, which helped Steam reach a new record in concurrent users count, setting the bar at well over 22 million.
Steam, a prominent video game digital distribution service has been on the rise in recent months, drawing in more and more users with each passing month and there might be a strong correlation with the rise of its popularity and the COVID-19 outbreak, which ushered many countries to implement a lockdown, forcing their residents to stay at home and, well, play video games.
Because Steam is the go-to game service for almost every PC gamer, its rise in popularity is completely understandable, as for many people, playing online video games with their friends is the only way to socialise amid the social distancing initiative.
Just recently, it was reported that Counter-Strike: Global Offensive broke one million users for the first time in the game's history, with the said number continuing to grow, reaching over 1.1 million this past weekend. Following the increased popularity of video games is also Dota2, who has been struggling with attracting new players and keeping its old player base interested in playing the game. The lockdown, however, seemingly ushered many players to return to the game, seeing how Dota2 has seen a 7.14% increase in player base in February and is as of March sitting at over 423,000 players, with its peak showing over 715,000 - the highest it has been since September-October 2019.
Other games, such as Football Manager 2020, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege, Grand Theft Auto V, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and others are also experiencing a boom in its player base during this period of time.
Exposing the new Steam record was a prominent industry analyst Daniel Ahmad, who made a Twitter post, unveiling previous records, while making a connection between the player base boom and the COVID-19 outbreak. According to Ahmad, Steam hit 18.5 million users for the first time in January 2018 on the back of PUBG, which has at the time peaked at 3,236,027 players.
On February 2, 2020, during Chinese New Year and lockdown of China, Steam set a new record with 18.8 million users, which can be easily connected with China and other parts of the world starting to advocate self-quarantine in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Only a week later, on February 9, 2020, Steam reached 19.1 million users, which was just before the end of the extended Chinese New Year period and has since continued to climb throughout February and into March.
On March 15, 2020, when most European countries went into lockdown, Steam peaked at 20.3 million users, passing the 20 million mark for the first time in its history. Only two days ago, Steam reached the 21-million mark, which can again be connected with more European countries declaring lockdowns, as well as the release of the heavily anticipated Doom Eternal.
On Sunday, March 22, at around 9:30 AM CT, Steam reached its new record of 22,670,375 active users and if the trend continues, we could be witnessing Steam peaking throughout the month, as more and more people get forced to stay at home, self-quarantine, and play video games.
Written by KrajnikT
Tit Krajnik (KrajnikT) is an esports writer for onlineesports.com, where he reports news, features and writes other content related to the players, teams, industry and the esports scene as a whole.
He has previously worked as a news and betting-related articles writer in the "traditional" sports scene but later opted to turn his attention to esports, where he managed to combine his love for video games and the growing esports industry with his work.
Krajnik has started his journey as an esports writer by covering Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends, which he also played since its launch, but later broaden his skill-set to include other major esports titles including Dota 2, Fortnite, Apex Legends, Overwatch, Rainbow 6 Siege and Call of Duty.