Steam makes a new record with concurrent players reaching 20,313,476 on early morning March 16th. This beats out Steam’s last record, which was set last year, by nearly a million and it is the first time Steam has 20,000,00 concurrent players. CS: GO, Rainbow Six Seige, Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, and DOTA 2 have all contributed heavily to the player count. CS: GO itself struck over a million concurrent players for the first time since 2012 and is still rapidly growing, with potential to break its concurrent player record. Rainbow Six Seige and DOTA 2 are set to break their respective player count records if the trend of concurrent users remains the same and doesn’t level off as time goes on.
The spread of COVID-19 and its related panic is often cited reason. Many colleges, schools, and businesses have either switched to remote classes or have closed down temporarily. In worse scenarios, some cities have entered mandatory quarantine and the whole of Italy has as well. The increased time spent at home would naturally lead to more time spent playing video games.
While Steam may be benefiting from players having more downtime, other parties in the industries are suffering from COVID-19. Popular industry events have been canceled, including E3. Several companies have switched to working remotely and it is unclear if the transition will affect the businesses. There is even speculation that the next generation of consoles will likely miss their expected launch days, although Microsoft has revealed the details of the machinery inside the Xbox Series X.
Even Discord as been affected. Despite being aware of connection issues, predicting a large influx of users, and taking preventive measures, the heavy traffic of users forced the service’s servers to capitulate and go down. Microsoft suffered a similar situation earlier with Xbox Live, although they were able to get back online within two hours.