Valheim may well be Steam's biggest-ever viral hit, with 2M copies sold

(Image credit: Iron Gate Studios)

Viking survival game Valheim has now sold more than 2 million copies, developers Iron Gate AB announced in an update posted to Steam. Boasting over 370,000 concurrent players today, and rapidly rising, Valheim looks to be the fastest-growing viral hit ever on Steam. That means in just 13 days Valheim has accomplished a player count that would put many other massive, hit games to shame. 

Compared to same-genre hits like Rust, which has never reached a comparable point, or the similarly viral battle royale Playerunknown's Battlegrounds, which took just over three months in 2017 to reach more than 350,000 players, later peaking at nearly 3,000,000. If the trend continues, Valheim could easily be the biggest all-time viral hit on Steam, having already cracked into the top 10 last weekend.

It's not even driven by  massive hype from big Twitch streamers, as is often the case with hits like this. Check out this chart from SteamDB, which shows steady growth in viewership that flattens out rather than the kinds of massive spikes of viewership over player count that herald a wave of popularity from that kind of exposure. People are playing, not just watching, Valheim.

A chart of twitch viewership vs concurrent players for the game Valheim.

(Image credit: SteamDB)

Its large player count puts Valheim behind only Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on the list of most-played Steam games right now. Here on February 14th it's a mere 12,000 players behind World of Warships for a spot in the top 10 all-time record holders for games on Steam. The only other comparable game in that list is survival and crafting RPG Terraria.

Conquer Viking purgatory with these Valheim guides

Valheim Stagbreaker war hammer

(Image credit: Iron Gate Studios)

Valheim boss: Summon and defeat them all
Valheim workbench: How to build and upgrade it
Valheim copper: How to get it
Valheim map: The best world seeds
Valheim seeds: How to plant them
Valheim iron: How to get it
Valheim Elder: Summon and beat the second boss
Valheim boar: How to tame one
Valheim armor: The best sets
Valheim commands: Handy cheat codes

That kind of growth in just two weeks is a stark contrast from big, $60 games from publishers with huge advertising budgets, which tend to debut at huge player counts but rapidly trickle off to much more reasonable numbers. Valheim has instead started as a $20 game and rocketed into success. Even the meteoric rise of Among Us last year took a month and a half to grow from 5,000 to 370,000 players. (Among Us, it should be noted, has a massive mobile audience not tracked on Steam.)

Iron Gate AB has clearly struck a nerve with Valheim, tapping into something that people either really want or really think they want. FOMO might explain a small jump past the hundred-thousand or so mark, but something about a combination of Valheim's gameplay and price have made the Early Access game shoot towards the stars.

If you're curious about the game, maybe check out our Valheim beginner's guide, or read about how it rekindled one author's love for survival games. Or just jump straight to how to set up your Valheim multiplayer server so you, too, can strive to please Odin.

Update: A previous version of this story, published February 14th, cited statistics for that day. It has been updated to reflect the 2 million sales news.

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.