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People spent 31 billion hours playing Steam games in 2020, a 50% increase from 2019

The Steam logo
(Image credit: Steam)

Steam has released a bunch of player stats for 2020, and well, video games were very, very popular last year.

In addition to a record-setting 120 million monthly active players and a record 24.8 million peak concurrent players, Steam reports that 31.3 billion hours were spent playing Steam games in 2020, a 50% increase from 2019.

I probably don't need to explain why we were playing so many games in 2020, but Valve clarifies that it was definitely the pandemic. "As many of you already know, this past year had more than its share of challenges, with everyone's lives upended by the global pandemic," reads Steam's Year in Review blog post. "While Steam was already seeing significant growth in 2020 before COVID-19 lockdowns, video game playtime surged when people started staying home, dramatically increasing the number of customers buying and playing games, and hopefully bringing some joy to counter-balance some of the craziness that was 2020."

It's also interesting to see how much engagement jumped over the year for the three different Steam Game Festivals. The Spring Edition attracted 0.6 million demo activations, and then just three months later the Summer Edition climbed to 3.1 million activations, followed by the Autumn Edition with 5.1 million demo activations. 

Steam's VR engagement also soared in 2020, with 104 million Steam VR sessions equating to a 30% increase over 2019. People also used a lot more controllers on Steam last year than previously - 1.6 billion game sessions were played using a controller, resulting in a 66% increase from 2019.

Check out Steam's most-played and best-selling PC games.

Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked in - *shudders* - content management while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG. Now, as GamesRadar's Arizona-based Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.