With the coronavirus officially declared a pandemic, the CDC advised people to stay in-doors and avoid large crowds over the weekend. While an unfortunate number of people opted not to heed that advice, there's one group that seems to have taken it to heart: gamers. Xbox Live was down earlier today, possibly due to large numbers of players using the service at the same time, but that's not the only gaming service that was busy this weekend. According to Valve Corporation, Steam hit a record 20 million players logged-in today, while 6.4 million were playing a game concurrently. It's a staggering number, and it just goes to show that some people were taking the CDC's guidelines a bit more seriously!
Steam's top played game of the day was Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The game had more than 1 million players at one point today, setting a new record for Valve's popular title. Things have settled down a bit since then, with just under 400,000 players, as of this writing. Still, it's an amazing accomplishment for the 2012 release.
The rest of the Top 10 on Steam today consist of Dota 2, Rainbow Six Siege, Destiny 2, PUBG, Team Fortress 2, Grand Theft Auto V, Ark: Survival Evolved, Path of Exile, and Borderlands 3. It's a fairly diverse list, and one that highlights the fact that gamers were looking for a range of different experiences to take their minds off current events.
It will be interesting to see if Valve will top these numbers over the next few weeks. With the coronavirus pandemic resulting in the cancellation of everything from sporting events to movies, it seems highly likely that more people will turn to video games as a form of escapism. Whether or not this will result in more issues for online services like Xbox Live remains to be seen.
Of course, next weekend also heralds the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, so that could pull away a number of players. Demand for the game is quite high, and the franchise is known for offering robust experiences. That said, it's hard to guess how many Steam users also own Nintendo Switch, but it would be interesting to know how many people will be playing that game concurrently next weekend!
Did you stay in and spend time gaming this weekend? What games were you playing? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!