Steam has more users than ever, despite Epic Games Store exclusives

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Steam just recorded a new all-time high for the number of concurrent users, with Valve’s service hitting 18,801,944 in terms of the amount of gamers online simultaneously.

As highlighted by Steam Database, this happened on Sunday, February 2, and comfortably exceeded the previous record set in January 2018 which stood at 18,537,490.

Bear in mind, though, that this is the number of users logged onto the Steam platform, and not the total of people actually playing games. As the tweet reporting the new record makes clear, there were over a million fewer players actually in-game at the time – around 5.8 million compared to about 7 million.

Steam surges

Regarding what may have prompted this spike, various theories are floating around including a potential helping hand from a surge of Chinese users, and indeed the fact that several big games have had major events or updates (including GTA Online offering an in-game cash bonus for logging on, and a recent major PUBG update).

There are also cries of ‘more bots online’, and that’s not unbelievable – but we can’t know that for sure. All we do know is that there are definitely more users, even if they weren’t actually playing a game.

Whatever the case, the launch of the rival Epic Games Store at the end of 2018, complete with a number of ensuing high-profile exclusives (and freebies) to tempt gamers to sign up, doesn’t appear to have taken the wind out of Steam’s user adoption sails.

Just over three years ago, a new record was set with concurrent users on Steam creeping up to 14,200,000, so the fresh high represents an increase of almost a third compared to the beginning of 2017. If we travel back a few more years, to the end of 2013, the record was just over 7 million – which gives you an idea of the pace of Steam’s increasing popularity over the past half-decade or so.

Via PCGamesN

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).