While the rise of PUBG has been unprecedented (it recently eclipsed DOTA 2’s highest ever peak player count with 1.38 million concurrent players), it’s also undoubtedly helped give rise to PC gaming in general. The latest stats from Valve show that Steam has broken its own concurrent user record as well, jumping past the 15 million concurrent player milestone up to 15,053, 189 Steam users online at the same time.
Just to put that into context - around three and a half years ago on this very site I wrote a news story in which Steam broke the 7 million concurrent player mark for the first time. Since then, the core active PC gaming player base has more than doubled. A staggering achievement for sure, and a signifier of the unstoppable rise of PC gaming.
It feels a long time ago now that console ports were few and far between and there were just a handful of new releases a week. Now practically every major AAA title makes it to PC as the ultimate version, while more than 5,000 games have been released on Steam this year alone. Bounteous does little to do it justice.
By contrast, the last we heard was that Xbox Live has 48 million active subscribers while PlayStation Plus sits at around 110 million. That’s active, not concurrent, so the actual figures are likely much, much lower. Last year, Valve reported there were 125 million active Steam accounts. Considering the growth we’ve seen lately, it’s reasonable to expect that the online player base of Steam is larger than both the core consoles combined.
It’s an incredibly impressive achievement, undoubtedly spurred along by the success of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which arrived out of nowhere to dominate the PC gaming landscape. A $30 game overtaking DOTA 2’s peak player count is bordering on insane; a F2P behemoth overtaken by a premium product.
A monumental achievement, without doubt, and you've got to wonder what could ever come along and top it. For now, though, PC gaming has never been in ruder health, even as 1 in 10 of us murder one another in the name of another chicken dinner.