Payday 2 Gets More than 7 Million New Owners on Steam, Only Gave out 5 Million Copies

Developer Overkill Software shocked the world of PC gaming about two weeks ago with the bombshell announcement that they would give away 5 million Steam copies of the popular multiplayer heist game Payday 2. The move was, if nothing else, brilliant marketing. Payday 2 had been semi-regularly updated, but also appeared to be headed toward the light at the end of the tunnel. Earlier this year, it was thought that October 2017 would be the last month that Overkill would support its beloved multiplayer game.

But rather than limp on to irrelevance, Overkill decided to give away 5 million copies of Payday 2 to promote the release of Payday 2: Ultimate Edition – a version that includes all previously released DLC – for $45 (less than the price of all the DLC combined when bought normally). In addition, Overkill announced support for Payday 2 for an additional year – through October 2018.

Of course, this was more an experiment than a sure thing. Even if 5 million people got the free version of Payday 2, that doesn’t mean that any of them will purchase the Ultimate Edition. That said, if SteamSpy’s numbers are to be believed, this experiment paid off for Overkill, and then some.

Before this stunt by Overkill, on June 7, Payday 2 had just over 8 million owners, according to SteamSpy. On June 8, that number ballooned to more than 9 million. By June 11, the 5 million copies were gone, with SteamSpy showing more than 14 million owners, and today the number of users who own Payday 2 is just around 15.5 million. So, despite only giving away 5 million copies since June 8, more than 7 million people have bought into Payday 2 in that same timeframe.

Had they not given away 5 million free copies, it would seem unlikely that an additional 2 million people would have been so eager to purchase anew or upgrade their current copies. Even if the sales of Payday 2 stopped here, it seems Overkill can count this as a win. With every update from here on out being free, even players who didn’t purchase the Ultimate Edition will get much more than they bargained for.