Steam capitalized on coronavirus-related cabin fever as PC gamers -- confined to their homes as social distancing and quarantines become the new normal -- likely flocked to the digital-distribution platform to assuage their loneliness with virtual entertainment.
Concurrent users peaked at a whopping 20 million. This is the first time in Steam history that 20 million users were online at the same time; 6.4 million were actively engaging in gameplay.
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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was the most popular game and nabbed the greatest share of users over the weekend with a whopping all-time peak of over one million players. DOTA 2 sat in second place with over 700,000 gamers playing simultaneously. Rainbow Six Siege and Grand Theft Auto V drew in 196,000 and 173,000, respectively.
According to The Verge, Steam's previous record was 19 million concurrent users last month.
There weren't any noteworthy Steam releases last week, so there's a good chance that mandatory quarantines, self isolation and social distancing were the culprits behind Steam's jaw-dropping spike in simultaneous user engagement.
Other entertainment platforms have seen a surge in users due to the coronavirus crisis as well, including Netflix, which has seen its stock jump by 2% since early February. Over the weekend, users darn-near broke Xbox Live as home-bound players inundated the platform. Playstation Network also dealt with an uptick of issues due to increased user demand.
Head of Xbox Phil Spencer confirmed that an upsurge of users caused a lot of pressure on their platforms with a Sunday tweet.
Yea, usage is up on almost everything. Thanks go out to all the Ops/IT teams at all the companies that are working hard to keep everything running smoothly with all going on around them.March 15, 2020
Gaming platforms better get their servers ready. As coronavirus continues to spread, government officials in the tri-state area are ordering mandatory shutdowns of businesses that attract crowds, including nightclubs, bars, movie theaters and gyms. With "fun" brick-and-mortar locations being shuttered, we expect to see another user boom on Steam in the near future.
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Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!