Steam is one of the biggest video game platforms of all time (no matter how hard Epic tries to dethrone it). When it comes to finding a new game on the PC, Steam is often the first option. With so many games through Valve’s online store, some developed in-house, which ones rise to the top and manage to have the most players for the longest amount of time?
That’s where the Steam Charts come in, keeping track of player counts, peaks, and more. We’ve taken a look at their records to give you a list of some of the longest reigning games on Steam. There’s a good chance you’ve played most of these games.
It comes as no surprise that one of the biggest MOBAs has managed to hold a massive player base. It also has the most hours of just about any game on Steam. Investing in a MOBA is a serious commitment (it can take years before you truly understand how to work the game), so it makes sense that it’d be extremely popular. On par with League of Legends, plenty of people play DOTA 2 to experience this competitive environment. That said, if you’re looking to get into it now, prepare to get schooled by just about anyone else you play against.
PUBG might’ve dropped in popularity since Fortnite came out, but with the right amount of love and care, it has kept on thriving since then. PUBG has a massive player count. Bringing in a more mature audience than some of its competitors, the people who play are probably loyal to the game. It maintains its high viewer numbers on Twitch and has thrown out consistent updates since its release. For these reasons, PUBG has stayed alive for quite some time and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. The day it fades is the day battle royale games die.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has been out for nearly seven years. Despite all that time for other shooters to dominate it, the game remains one of the most popular on Steam. It was developed by Valve, a team that knows how to make an excellent first-person shooter. It has solid mechanics, graphics that still hold up, and gameplay that is just darn fun. The game can be extremely competitive, but it’s easy to get into, especially since Valve made it a free-to-play game. These factors made it more popular, and it remains one of Steam’s most-played games of all time.
Ubisoft has made valiant efforts to have a game that keeps people playing for years. They finally succeeded with Rainbow Six Siege, which is a first-person shooter that doesn’t shy away from tactical elements. There’s a real strategy to the game that forces people to always think on their toes.
Game modes have players fighting for objectives and trying to get the drop on one another. The game be punishing and complex as far as the genre is concerned, but that has proven to be an overall great way to make Rainbow Six Siege stand out from the stiff competition.
Sandboxes are popular games, and no developer does them quite like Rockstar. While the Grand Theft Auto series has been popular on consoles for some time, Grand Theft Auto V is the latest entry and a prime fit for PC play. There’s so much to do and see as well as so many mods to spruce up your gameplay. There is an online mode for the game, but we’d wager that the sheer joy of driving a massive airplane just above the streets is more than enough to keep people coming back for years. It’s been popular enough that Rockstar hasn’t needed to push out a sequel in several years.
Sandbox games normally give you big open worlds where you can interact with them however you want, but Garry’s Mod is a blank slate that gives players all the tools they need to create whatever they want. Made with assets straight from Valve’s games, Garry’s Mod is a game where only the sky is the limit. Giving the game more life is the mod support that allows players to add in just about anything they can think of, whether it be a Lucario NPC from Pokemon or a musical instrument that sets things on fire. Your imagination is your limit.
Warframe puts players in the role of a cyber-ninja and has them go on intense missions of combat, parkour, and exploration. Warframe is similar to an MMO but incorporates more of an action-focused style.
The big draw of Warframe is that it’s free to play. This, coupled with its unique and impressive design, make this game an enticing option for anyone on a budget or anyone just looking for a new game to try out. While Warframe is on many different platforms, it remains extremely popular on Steam. The typical free-to-play elements are there, which may deter some, but the experience is overall worth it.
It makes sense that one of Valve’s most popular games would keep a long record on the Steam charts. Team Fortress 2 practically invented the class-based shooter. Games were objective-focused and featured a cast of characters with their own strengths and weaknesses. Players had to know how they could adapt to their opponents to get ahead. Team Fortress 2 also spawned an unhealthy dose of memes and Source Filmmaker videos. It paved the way for games like Overwatch and Paladins to modernize the formula. It might not be as popular as it was because of those games, but no one forgets where it all started.
Developer Psyonix seemingly struck gold with Rocket League. The simple combination of soccer and a demolition derby proved to be an addictive success. Rocket League is popular for both competitive and casual play. There are all sorts of new cars to obtain and plenty of game modes to try out. It’s easy to play but difficult to master gameplay make it easy to get sucked in for hours on end. Add to the fact that playing with friends is a cinch (that includes cross-play functionality), and Rocket League was always geared toward success. It’s also a very inexpensive game.
With all the zombie games that have come out, there have been none like the Left for Dead series (despite how hard some developers have tried). A team of four comrades go into each match and take on hordes of zombies and special foes. They have to work together to cover their backs and save each other when the going gets tough. Left for Dead 2 added plenty of new weapons and kept the mod support going, which made each game more enjoyable than the last. It’s no secret why this game has appeared high on the Steam Charts for quite some time.