Huge sale sends 6-year-old Battlefield 1's player count into the stratosphere

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(Image credit: Electronic Arts)
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Six year old Battlefield 1 (opens in new tab) is having a mini renaissance on Steam right now, breaking into the top-selling games list and peaking at nearly 51,000 players today following three prior days of big player counts. That 51K is nearly 10 times bigger than the 24-hour peak of the much more recently released Battlefield 2042 (opens in new tab). This data comes courtesy of inimitable stats-tracking site SteamDB (opens in new tab).

If you're wondering why are gamers flocking back to the Great War, look no further than Battlefield 1's current 88% off sale, reducing it to a measly $4.79/£4.19/4,79€. It's not players in the United States or Europe that are driving the spike either. These big player numbers are concentrated between 12:00 and 14:00 UTC, peak gaming hours of between 8pm and 10pm in East Asian time zones like China Standard Time. 

The big boom of an arguably out-of-date entry to the series is a bit of an awkward look after all the hoopla surrounding Battlefield 2042's changes to the series formula, but in all likelihood this is a passing fad born on the back of a great deal. If 2042 was all of a sudden selling for peanuts too, you best believe there'd be an influx of players sampling a game we actually quite enjoyed (opens in new tab).

First released in 2016 but added to Steam in 2020, Battlefield 1 took the series back to the first World War with an anthology campaign that focused on a broad spectrum of pretty neat, underexplored settings (opens in new tab). PC Gamer UK Editor-in-Chief Phil Savage gave it an 89% (opens in new tab) back at release, and it's got a fair bit of that much-vaunted "historical accuracy" everyone's always banging on about—a professional historian we showed it to didn't hate it (opens in new tab).

Battlefield 1 and Battlefield 5 took the series back to its roots as a historical shooter as opposed to something modern day or near future, something I quite enjoyed as a fan of BF1942 and its mod, The Great War, that highlighted slow as hell tanks and horse-powered artillery.

Battlefield 2042 has been much more controversial among series fans for changing some fundamentals of how it plays such as its overhaul of the class system. Nonetheless, EA hasn't given up on it yet (opens in new tab). And it does offer some unique delights, like the Battlefield Portal mode (opens in new tab), which allows for exceptional user creativity.

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.