Steam has set a new record for the most concurrent users on the platform. The record was set this past Sunday, January 2, 2022, while many people around the world were enjoying the holiday weekend. At 7 AM EST on Sunday, 27,942,036 users were all logged into Steam at the same time. That shattered the previous record, set in March 2021, by over a million users. The record set in March was 26,922,926 concurrent users.
While not surpassing Sunday’s impressive figure, the March record was broken again today when 27,060,037 users were all online at the same time. These new statistics show the impressive speed at which Steam has been growing over the past few years. Before 2020, the peak of concurrent users was set in January 2018 and had remained a record for two years. That 2018 record was a meager 18,537,490 users. Since 2020, Steam’s concurrent user peak record has been set and broken multiple times, particularly at the beginning of the pandemic when it shot up by a massive six million users.
The pandemic bump has continued since then. Although the March 2021 record stood firm for the rest of the year, the number of concurrent users on Steam was consistently over 26 million from September until the end of 2021.
Steam’s massive increase in consistent concurrent users over the past couple of years partly explains the graphics card shortage that has been ongoing since the end of 2020. As many people around the world have invested in hobbies they can do at home, graphics cards for PC gaming have remained nearly impossible to find. Even when they can be located, they are selling for significantly more than the recommended retail price (RRP). When Nvidia launched the RTX 3000 series of cards, the RRP was $499.99 for an RTX 3070 and $699.99 for an RTX 3080. Because of the shortage, the reality of the prices has been much different. RTX 3070s routinely go for over $1000 and RTX 3080s for over $1600.