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Epic Games Store hasn’t made Steam any less popular with players

Half-Life: Alyx Announcement Trailer

Even the Epic Games Store’s collection of exclusives couldn’t diminish the popularity of the gaming store juggernaut Steam. In fact, Valve set a record for its largest concurrent player count ever with hundreds of thousands of players active in Steam-exclusive games over the weekend.

Steam hit more than 18.8 million players on February 2, according to the third-party tracking service SteamDB, just a few hours before the Super Bowl began in the United States. The new record is about 300,000 more players than the previous one set in 2018. Just under 6 million of those active players were in the middle of a game when the record was set.

By the end of the day, the figure had dipped to just over 11.5 million concurrent users. Despite it being Super Bowl Sunday, this drop was not much greater than the day before when it had dipped to 12.3 million users.

The two most-played games were Valve titles themselves. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive peaked at over 784,000 concurrent players over the last 24 hours, while Dota 2 peaked at just under 575,000. Both games are several years old but have loyal player-bases and competitive followings.

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Steam could attract even more attention from a new first-party release when Half-Life: Alyx arrives in March. Valve’s VR headset, the Index, has seen a surge in popularity, even ahead of Alyx’s release. After the game’s announcement, the headset’s sales doubled, and Valve is struggling to keep it in stock ahead of launch. Despite its $1000 price point, it was the best-selling PC VR headset of Q4 2019

None of this is to say that Epic Games Store hasn’t managed to carve out a slice of the market. The store topped 8.3 million players in November, up almost threefold since February 2019.

PC games exclusive to Epic Games Store include The Division 2, Control, and the upcoming Watch Dogs: Legion. However, many of these are timed exclusives that will come to other platforms after a certain period has elapsed. Metro Exodus, for instance, caused controversy when it launched in early 2019 as an Epic Games Store exclusive despite a previous listing on Steam. It will return to Steam on February 14. Red Dead Redemption II initially released on PC without a Steam version, too, before joining the platform a month later.

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