It seems that PC gaming just keep getting bigger and bigger, with its popular platform and marketplace Steam reaching another milestone in the last 24 hours for concurrent online users.
SteamDB, a third party tool for tracking what happens on the platform, picked up on this.
“[Steam] has broken its record for most concurrently online users that was held for two years. Previous record was 18,537,490 users. It’s still increasing!” Writes SteamDB on Twitter.
The 24 hour player peak linked to in that tweet puts the exact number at 18 801 944. At the time of writing that has fallen to 12 361 679.
While nearly 19 million on Steam is impressive, it’s worth nothing that not all of them were actually playing games.
“But there’s about 1 million less players actually in-game (≈5.8mil vs ≈7mil two years ago),” SteamDB adds.
While it’s easy to assume that people are instead on the platform managing inventories, looking at games and doing other non-playing things, this addendum to the concurrent number probably points to bot accounts.
Steam has a historic and vast problem with bots doing all manner of activities on the platform, usually revolving around its real money market.
Even when these bots aren’t being used to make money, they’re at work on other endeavours. As one example, in July of 2019, Counter-Strike content creator 3kliksphilip dove into the bot manipulation of of the Steam Workshop for CS:GO. This was a followup to a similar investigation from July 2016, showing that these problems are years-old and won’t be going away any time soon.
Bot problems aside, how does a large concurrent user count affect you, a (hopefully) real player? Well, not much really. Aside from being interested in internet statistics, this milestone is more useful information for developers, publishers and others more interested in the business side of Steam. Well, aside from the shady automated bot market business side of Steam.