212,620 people playing No Man's Sky at once makes it the biggest Steam launch this year

From a technical perspective No Man’s Sky hasn’t had an smooth launch on PC. But in terms of sales, it’s already one of the biggest launches ever of a game on Steam. Steam Stats, an official resource created by Valve, shows that 212,620 people were simultaneously playing No Man’s Sky on launch day so far. In North America and Europe alone the Steam servers were serving a combined 4.7 terabits per second as people downloaded the game.

You might be thinking: “Eh, that’s far less than Dota 2,” which is drawing just over 1 million concurrents in the middle of its biggest tournament of the year. And you’re right. But consider this: 212,620 players is at least 46% more than what was achieved by every other 2016 release at launch, and it's possible that more people will boot up No Man’s Sky on Saturday or Sunday, when Steam activity is typically at its weekly peak. 

Here are the peak concurrent players for some major games that released on Steam this year:

  • XCOM 2 133,022
  • Dark Souls 3 129,975
  • Total War: Warhammer 113,019
  • Starbound 62,301 (after leaving Early Access)
  • Doom 44,271
  • Hitman 12,582

And the all-time highs of breakout, surprise hits from 2016: 

  • Stellaris 68,602
  • Stardew Valley 64,632
  • Factorio 16,281
  • RimWorld 15,063

And the all-time highs of other, longer-standing popular games that aren’t Dota 2 or CS:GO:

  • Rocket League 103,129 (during a free weekend)
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 92,267
  • ARK: Survival Evolved 84,961 (during a free weekend)
  • Rust 64,982

All concurrent players figures via steamdb.info, which compiles Steam Stats data.

Again, these aren’t sales figures, and different games inspire different levels of urgency to play at launch. But concurrency numbers are representative of how popular a game is. Skyrim touched 280,000 concurrents during its launch week in 2011, and went on to sell more than 3.5 million on PC and console in its first two days. GTA 5 hit 364,000 at launch. I just wish we compare these games to Overwatch, which already has 15 million players across all platforms. 

Evan Lahti
Global Editor-in-Chief

Evan's a hardcore FPS enthusiast who joined PC Gamer in 2008. After an era spent publishing reviews, news, and cover features, he now oversees editorial operations for PC Gamer worldwide, including setting policy, training, and editing stories written by the wider team. His most-played FPSes are CS:GO, Team Fortress 2, Team Fortress Classic, Rainbow Six Siege, and Arma 2. His first multiplayer FPS was Quake 2, played on serial LAN in his uncle's basement, the ideal conditions for instilling a lifelong fondness for fragging. Evan also leads production of the PC Gaming Show, the annual E3 showcase event dedicated to PC gaming.