Best of Steam 2021 shows off a few surprise top sellers and most played

Valheim Viking giving thumbs up
(Image credit: Iron Gate Studios)

Another year, another dump of the top games from Valve. The Steam Best of 2021 is out, and this year's top games include a few notable hits among them. Perennial successes aside, Dead by Daylight climbed into the top category of games by gross revenue this year, as did Apex Legends. Among the top-selling new releases for this year were games like Naraka: Bladepoint and Battlefield, 2042, which you would expect, but that Valheim, Back 4 Blood, and Farming Simulator 22 are in the Platinum category. 

Divided into rough tiers (Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze) and measured by gross revenue or most concurrent players, Steam's Best of 2021 isn't a definitive survey of PC Gaming, but it is an important one. As usual, we have categories for Top Sellers, New Releases, Most Played, Early Access Grads, Best of VR, and Controller Friendly.

Notably, Halo Infinite and Age of Empires 4 both make it into the Platinum category for this year's New Releases, meaning that their presence on publisher Microsoft's PC Game Pass hasn't done much to dampen traditional sales.

Compared to previous years, it seems to me that there aren't so many new indies in the top 100 games by gross revenue. I haven't sat down and done the math, but Valheim is one of the only new releases that's both an indie and in the top 100. Other indies are older games like Hades, Rimworld, The Forest, and Raft.

You can read Valve's own analysis of the list on their official Best of 2021 blog post.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.