TechSpot means tech analysis and advice you can trust. Read our ethics statement.
What just happened? Steam might be facing pressure from other digital stores, particularly Epic's, but Valve's platform is still setting records. Yesterday, it broke its concurrent user record when 18.8 million people were online at the same time.
According to Steam DB, there were 18,801,944 players on Sunday, February 2 at around 14:20 GMT. That beats the previous record of 18,537,490, set on January 14, 2018.
Somewhat unusually, while there was a record number of concurrent users, the number of in-game players was significantly fewer than two years ago. There were 5.8 million people playing games yesterday, compared to 7 million two years ago. Back then, Playerunknown's Battlegrounds was helping to boost Steam's numbers. One possible explanation is that many gamers use Steam as a social network and/or chat platform, which warrants usage of the client but not necessarily launching a game.
There's no explanation for why Steam just broke its record, though the time it happened lines up with the peak playtimes for all of the platform's top games.
Right now, the most popular titles on Steam are Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, Playerunknown's Battlegrounds, Grand Theft Auto V, and Monster Hunter: World.
Despite the challenge from the Epic Games Store, Steam has been going from strength to strength recently. We've had updated clients that introduce new fixes, online support for all local multiplayer games, and a revamped Library.
Additionally, Google is working on bringing Steam to Chromebooks, EA has allowed its games on the store for the first time since 2011, and the platform has attracted so many players in China that simplified Chinese is once again its most popular language.