Data from the Steam platform was inadvertently leaked by their very own API. This leaked data was then used to flush out and discover the most popular games on Steam. The fact Steam did this to themselves is certainly a bit of salt on the wound, but for video game industry observers, it’s all good.
The credit for these findings goes to the developer behind The End is Nigh, Tyler Glaiel. Without getting bogged down in the details, he used Steam’s API achievement data to estimate game sales on Steam. This isn’t the first time someone has offered up stats from Steam, but this is the most accurate information that has been discovered. With this method being made public, Valve was quick to close the loophole and thus the party has ended. Before the leak was closed however, the data on 13,000 games was collected and now it’s on display for your viewing pleasure.
Before giving you the numbers, have some fun and take a guess. What do you think is the Steam game with the most active players? How many players do you think play the top Steam game? My guess is you’re way off.
A couple of key points to keep in mind with this list. It only shows games that have achievements and have been played at least once as of July 1, 2018. This means some very popular titles will not be on the list such as Dota 2, but nonetheless it’s still interesting to compare the vast majority of games and how they compare against each other.
Here is a list of the top Steam games with at least 10-million active players:
- 50.2 million – Team Fortress 2
- 46.3 million – Counter-Strike Global Offensive
- 36.6 million – PUBG
- 27.4 million – Unturned
- 23.1 million – Left 4 Dead 2
- 18.6 million – Payday 2
- 16.6 million – Garry’s Mod
- 16.3 million – Warframe
- 15.0 million – Counter-Strike Source
- 14.4 million – Paladins
- 13.2 million – The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim
- 13.1 million – Terraria
- 13.1 million – Portal 2
- 12.7 million – Sid Meier’s Civilization V
- 12.6 million – Grand Theft Auto V
- 11.2 million – Borderlands 2
- 10.1 million – Robocraft
- 10.1 million – Rocket League
Some people say stats are for losers. With that in mind, it’s worth noting a few factors have been left out of the list which could lead to a bit of misrepresentation. Can you really say that Team Fortress 2 is the most popular game on Steam? Based on this data, it’s true. However, consider that free-to-play games are listed among the games that aren’t free. So, at the top of the list is Team Fortress 2, a free-to-play game, topping the second more popular game Counter-Strike Global Offensive that isn’t a free-to-play game. If you made Counter-Strike Global Offensive free-to-play it would likely be taking that number one position on this list. As it is, would you call that a fair fight?
So how does your favorite Steam game stack up against the competition? Does it make you mad that people don’t like it as much as you do? Like a bad movie that does well at the box office, don’t fret if your favorite game isn’t on the list. Maybe you know better than everyone else. You can check out the full stats on all 13,282 games below.