Atop Steam’s daily most-played list sits an unimpeachable handful of games. There are newcomers on occasion and that temporarily shakes things up. But, if you go back day after day and year after year, the same popular games never fall out of favor.
Now that 2016 is in the books, stat-tracking tool Githyp posted Steam’s most-played games of the year based on average number of players per hour. The top five is a triumvirate of Valve titles and two other heavy hitters. In order, they are: Dota 2 (636,607 average players per hour), Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (360,600), Team Fortress 2 (50,802), Grand Theft Auto V (40,258), and Civilization V (37,885).
There are two fascinating things about this list. One is the sharp decline between Counter-Strike and Team Fortress 2. Second place has more than seven times the average players than third place. The other interesting thing is that none of these games are particularly new. None of the top five released in 2016, indicating that the titles with the most staying power are really cemented there for now.
When you shift the focus to most concurrent players, then last year makes itself known. Here’s that top five in order: Dota 2 (1,286,617 peak players), Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (845,806), No Man’s Sky (212,321), XCOM 2 (132,834), and Dark Souls III (129,922).
These high-performers from 2016 burned hot and fizzled out quick, though. At time of writing, XCOM 2 and Dark Souls III are somewhere around the midpoint of Steam’s daily chart, both in that 8,000 to 10,000 concurrents range; No Man’s Sky doesn’t even crack the top 100.
The new year just started and 2017 holds endless possibilities. A bunch of games could release that turn this list on its head. But that’s not the smart money. The smart money says 2017’s most-played games will look awfully similar to 2016’s.