Baldur's Gate 3 smashes 500,000 concurrent users on Steam

Baldur's Gate 3 screenshot
(Image credit: Larian Studios)

I knew Baldur's Gate 3 was going to be big, but I didn't think it was going to be this big: In its second day of release, Larian's epic D&D RPG has surpassed 500,000 concurrent players on Steam.

That's not enough to put it atop the Steam chart, which is immutably dominated by Counter-Strike: Global offensive, a game that routinely has well over 1 million people playing at any given time. But it does put it within spitting distance of the perennial runner-up, Dota 2, and well past other heavyweights like PUBG, Apex Legends, Naraka: Bladepoint, and Grand Theft Auto 5.

At this point, the number is still climbing, and it's even noon PT yet. We'll see where it peaks. (Image credit: Steam)
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Notably, Baldur's Gate 3 is the only one among the top five that isn't a multiplayer game, and the only one that isn't free to play. Even more remarkable is that it is not, by conventional definitions, a mainstream sort of game. The D&D name carries weight, yes, but isometric party-based RPGs aren't the sort of videogame that people are typically lining up to play. 

The same goes for Larian itself: The studio has been a known quantity among RPG fans for many years, but not a particularly well-known presence beyond that.

Baldur's Gate 3 came close to breaking the 500,000 mark yesterday, when it first launched, but it couldn't quite crack the ceiling—possibly in part because it's a 122GB download, and there was no preload period available. Fortunately the Steam servers held up under the strain, but for some people it meant that launch day was download day, not play day. As such, it was fair to think that the wheels wouldn't really get rolling until the day after—that is, today—and that's how it seems to have gone.

Larian boss Swen Vincke said on Twitter earlier today, before Baldur's Gate 3 surpassed 500,000 concurrents, that the game's massive success "brought a tear to many eyes." But as the number continued to climb, he also expressed just a wee little bit of growing nervousness about the whole thing.

(Image credit: Swen Vincke (Twitter))

Also bear in mind that this is just for Steam: Baldur's Gate 3 is also available on GOG. We don't have access to player numbers on that storefront, but whatever it is, it pushes the total even higher. That's a whole lotta people playing digital D&D right now.

The first Baldur's Gate 3 hotfix is expected to be out later today. We'll let you know when it arrives, and what it does.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.