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There were 18,801,944 concurrent players on Steam earlier today – the highest ever recorded

(Image credit: Steam)

Steam has hit a new milestone, hitting a record-high 18.8 million concurrent users a little earlier today.

As spotted by SteamDB (opens in new tab) (via PCGN (opens in new tab)), Steam's previous record of 18,537,490 users – set in January 2018 – was surpassed at 2.20pm UK time today, smashing the existing record by an impressive 300,000 to peak at 18,801,944 players.

Interestingly, though, whilst it's the highest concurrent users we've ever seen on the platform, the numbers aren't as impressive when it comes to in-game figures. Here, we see just 5.8 million if we aggregate all in-game player numbers, whereas two years ago when the previous record was set in 2018, the in-game collective total was around 7 million. This suggests we have more players logged in but AFK than those actively playing games or using the client.

"Steam has broken its record for most concurrently online users that was held for two years. Previous record was 18,537,490 users. It's still increasing!" SteamDB tweeted earlier today. "But there's about 1 million less players actually in-game (≈5.8mil vs ≈7mil two years ago)."

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ICYMI, Valve has confirmed that all of the major Half-Life games and add-ons are now available for free on Steam as part of a pre-Alyx promotion (opens in new tab). They'll be free to play – not free to own – for the next two months, or up until the release of Half-Life: Alyx (opens in new tab), which is still on track for a March release. 

This free to play offer extends to Half-Life, Half-Life 2 and its supporting episodes, and major additions like Half-Life: Opposing Force, Half-Life 1: Source, and Half-Life: Blue Shift. 

Check out the latest Half-Life: Alyx gameplay trailer (opens in new tab).  

Writer. Guardian. Spartan. Silent Hillian. Little Sister. High Chaos. I also write for other fine places including the BBC, Eurogamer, and GamesIndustry.biz, and have a weekly games column at NME.