Steam has been able to achieve a record-breaking number of concurrent users, a milestone that came as an unforeseen result of the coronavirus outbreak.
On the weekend, more than 20 million players were accounted for on the platform at peak — 20,313,476 to be precise, of which more than 6 million players were in-game. The numbers have dwindled a bit since then due to the start of the week. According to statistics shared by the official website, nearly 14 million players are online on Steam right now and should hit 18 million by night.
In light of public safety and health, people have been forced to either work from their homes or isolate themselves from social gatherings. In the case of some small businesses, many have even closed down due to the threat of the coronavirus outbreak. Hence, millions have found themselves stuck at home with nothing to do except go online and play games. Steam, undoubtedly the most popular digital marketplace, was naturally going to see a surge in player-activity. Depending on how far the coronavirus situation progresses, Valve may possibly have to keep a watchful eye on the Steam infrastructure as millions more pour in on the coming weekend.
The coronavirus outbreak continues to have a substantial impact on economies and industries worldwide, including those related to gaming. With a death toll in the thousands and several thousands more of new reported cases, only the years to come will reveal just how badly the coronavirus damaged the gaming circles.
Last week, organizer and Entertainment Software Association (ESA) confirmed that the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3 2020) would be cancelled. ESA had previously assured to closely watch the situation, giving priority to the safety of all attendees. Hence, it was unsurprising to hear about E3 2020 getting cancelled. The epidemic has already forced a number of publishers to pull out of several conventions in the past months. 2020 as a whole looks to be bleak as pretty much every public event or gathering has either already been cancelled, postponed or will eventually be in the coming months.
There are now fears that Sony and Microsoft could possibly delay the launch of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. The next-generation consoles are scheduled to arrive at the end of the year. Presently, there is no confirmation if the coronavirus situation will be dealt with by then. Expect both companies to refrain from mentioning a price release date until concrete data regarding the coronavirus outbreak becomes available. Hence, not only Steam, but other online platforms will likely see a surge in activity throughout the year.