Steam sets new record with 30 million users online at once

An image of the "Stonks" meme with the Steam logo overlayed onto it. The meme depicts a man in a suit with numbers trending upwards.
(Image credit: Jon Bolding)

Steam has broken its prior records, and today on Sunday, October 23rd has hit a total of 30,012,957 users online at the same time. This is courtesy of Steam's own charts, though SteamDB scores a bit higher: 30,032,005.

That's roughly the population of Ghana, the 48th most populous country in the world. 

Steam has been rising for a long time, but exponentially so since 2020, when Covid lockdowns spiked numbers in big waves. While it's impossible to tell without a thorough study, those gaming habits have stuck with some far longer than might be expected.  Steam's rapid growth in recent years far outstrips its past growth: For comparison, it took 14 years for Steam to grow to a 15 million concurrent user peak in 2017, but only 5 years for the next 15 million.

Back in January 2021 Steam broke past the 25 million mark following a year of spikes and new records. At the time I swore off writing more stories about Steam records, we'd been writing them all year and I was sick of it. It wasn't news anymore, just a given. "With this barrier cracked, it seems like Steam's numerical exploits are becoming more 'inevitability' than 'news.' I'll get back to you when Steam reaches something like 30 million players," I said.

True to my word, here I am. We're at 30 million after another few years of growing highs. (All reported by my colleagues, I note. If I sound sanctimonious that's because I am, and you would be too if you remembered to do that.)

And, well, there you have it. A remarkable new high for a section of our hobby.

The Heavy turns from a PC and gives a thumbs-up

(Image credit: Valve Software)

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.