GTA Ousts Skyrim As Steam’s Most Played 3rd Party Game

but which mountains are best?

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. I celebrated if one of the bands I like got a single in the top 10; I took it very personally if they failed to. Because enough of my peers had also not loved whichever band of posturing men-with-guitars it was, society was in ruins. Is that, perhaps, how some Skyrim fans feel at news their beloved RPG has been toppled by GTA V as the game with most concurrent users ever on Steam, if you exclude Valve’s own games? And are GTA fans celebrating that their prized cars’n’murder game has claimed another scalp?

GTA V mustered over 301,000 folk playing the game at once, reports GamesIndustry, beating Skyrim’s 280,000 and change back when Bethesda’s dragon-botherer first launched. However, these are but tears in the rain against some of Valve’s own offerings – Dota 2 had over 800,000 players in the same period that GTA was doing its thing, while olden hatfest Team Fortress 2 also exceeded 300k during that time. Which is pretty crazy: even GTA V, a name as big as it gets in ‘traditional’ games, can’t beat what Valve are up to with their now fairly old free to play fare.

Still, Rockstar’s PC version of GTA V gets to say its the most-played third party game on Steam ever, depending on how you narrow down that phrase ‘most-played.’ Delays, two different console versions and a troubled launch haven’t done anything to dim its appeal to players of PC games, and that means more even houses made of gold for Rockstar’s bosses.


  1. frymaster says:

    “these are but tears in the rain against some of Valve’s own offerings”

    Part of that is because for Valve (well, steamworks) games, Steam encompasses the entire player base, while for GTA it doesn’t. Skyrim is a steamworks game though, so presumably did cover everyone

    • eggy toast says:

      Steam platform routinely accounts for ~ 80% of PC sales of any given game (if not more,) so it’s not really that much of a difference.

      • rabbit says:

        “for Valve (well, steamworks) games, Steam encompasses the entire player base, while for GTA it doesn’t”

        “Steam platform routinely accounts for ~ 80% of PC sales of any given game”

        GTA V is not a PC exclusive so you are wrong.

        • Comrade Roe says:

          “makes up 80% of PC sales”

          I don’t think we’re talking about console sales here with Steam anyway. His point was that most people buy their PC games on Steam, which is true. It doesn’t matter that GTA V isn’t PC exclusive.

          • fish99 says:

            Except in the case of GTAV PC all the boxed copies were the R* Social Club version, so that includes amazon and all brick&mortar stores, and almost every digital store was also selling the R* version. There was almost nowhere apart from Steam selling the Steam version.

            Everyone had to play Skyrim on Steam whereas GTAV PC could have 30-50% of it’s playerbase not using the Steam version.

          • Dale Winton says:

            I also saved £12 by buying the non-steam version. I believe the steam version just launch’s the rockstar client anyway so it’s quite pointless.

            Anyway the game is quiet stunning , I was skeptical about it (and have never seen or played the console versions) but I’ve been blown away. It’s a life simulator like nothing else I’ve played and I don’t think anyone other than Rockstar could make this game

          • Hebrind says:

            I’m really sorry to derail this topic, but:
            eggy toast
            Comrade Roe
            Dale Winton (because he’s orange, innit)

            This thread has made me mildly peckish.

      • frymaster says:

        As shadow says, I’ve noticed a much larger number of people avoiding steam for this particular game, simply because of the pricing

        • Premium User Badge

          phuzz says:

          Avoiding isn’t the word I’d use, but yeah, I’ll put up with no Steam integration for £20 off.

      • Cinek says:

        Steam platform routinely accounts for ~ 80% of PC sales” – you forgot to add: I pulled this number out of my ass and it has nothing to deal with a global sales.

    • Shadow says:

      People who got wise and bought the game discounted in places like GMG and Nuuvem (like me) might be a significant amount. And we all got the Steam-less Rockstar Club version.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        Price is not everything in life, some like to have their own library somewhere, some wanted to avoid Rockstar’s downloader, and some simply don’t care if they spend a bit more for their main hobby.

        Off course it’s good for you if you got a lower price, but not everyone necessarily seeks that and i believe it doesn’t make said people unwise.

        And i’m not even saying it has anything to do with which version is “better”, even though my first paragraph might sound like that.

        • Premium User Badge

          Zamn10210 says:

          Nobody’s even discussing which platform is better, they’re just pointing out that a large proportion of players may not be on Steam.

  2. montorsi says:

    Probably most people are just hoping it doesn’t take two years to port the next one, for cripes sake.

  3. PearlChoco says:

    Valve has a cellar filled with 200,000 monkeys, all playing TF2. Just to make the stats look good.

    True story.

    • simontifik says:

      Sad thing is, every one of those monkeys is a better TF2 player than me.

    • Craxel says:

      Ah yes, the infamous Apeature Science experiment. That’s why nowadays I only play TF2 with my prime, err, my best mate.

  4. DarkLiberator says:

    And that doesn’t even count non-steam copies.

    Also, TF2 only has 57K players atm? CSGO on the other hand is nuts. 430K players.

  5. Ross Angus says:

    Valve are never going to make another single-player game, are they? This is a shame.

  6. thegooseking says:

    But will it have more cumulative player-hours put into it than Skyrim? That’s how I would define “most-played”.

    It’s certainly not impossible, given how people get with GTA, and something to watch out for. But right now I’m thinking, “A lot of people are playing a game from the biggest-selling third-party franchise ever. I’m… not surprised?”

    • phelix says:

      Well Skyrim had a headstart of about 3.6 years, so GTA won’t overtake the cumulative hours played throne any time soon. Unless !!MODDING!! á la Cities happens. Which I hope will.

  7. BTAxis says:

    Man, I still haven’t played GTA4, even. All I really know about it is that it’s something to do with bowling.

    • frightlever says:

      GTA4 is the equivalent of the needy boy/girlfriend who you inevitably lie to about whether you did or did not receive their texts, and you’re not ignoring them you just forgot to charge your phone.

      The DLC is good though.

      • The First Door says:

        Despite the calls from Roman, I still think that the story in GTA IV is much better than in V. I actually cared a little about Niko and the people he met. GTA V starts out really good and then… well, most of the cut scenes are just shouting for a while.

        Having said that, GTA V is definitely a more fun place to explore and be in!

        • Tacroy says:

          I couldn’t get past the first couple of missions in GTA IV, it was the game that made me truly grasp what “ludonarrative dissonance” really means.

          In the cutscenes, we’ve got Niko Bellic – a war veteran who worked his way through an eastern European crime syndicate. He’s tired of that life, he wants to start over. He really seems like he’d rather not kill any more people to reach his American dream, but he will if he has to.

          And then you’re stuck in a mission. And the mission parameters are “kill everyone”. The game doesn’t even pretend to give you a choice about whether or not you’re going to kill NPC #9 – despite the fact that the car is right there and you just need to get in and drive off, you are absolutely required to kill that guy.

          It was just too dissonant for me, so that plus the weird driving physics and police mechanics made me give up playing relatively quickly.

          • fish99 says:

            I can’t remember an early missions where you have to ‘kill everyone’. Maybe you’re thinking of the drug deal with Jacob, but people are shooting him and you were brought along to protect him. Also Niko came to the US to escape Bulgarin (who it turns out is in the US). People don’t just magically change their ways over night. Yes there’s a disconnect between the Niko in the cut scenes and what you do in the game, but no one would have liked a realistic Niko.

            Let’s not forget you spend the whole of Skyrim slaughtering thousands of people and get treated like a hero (by the 100 or so people you didn’t kill who live in the cities).

  8. eggy toast says:

    I agree, it’s incredibly childish to get emotional over some company you have nothing to do with succeeding or failing. But that’s a solid third of what “talking about video games” is, I guess, because gamers are children.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      I know you are, but what am I?

    • fish99 says:

      Why is a game company different to your favourite author or band? If you’re allowed to be glad when your favourite bands new album sells well, then why can’t you when a game sells well? At the end of the day it’s just someone making content you enjoy, and they’re both doing it to make money.

  9. Bracknellexile says:

    I’m genuinely surprised it’s this high. Given the way Rockstar have treated PC gamers over the last few years (no Red Dead Redemption port, the truly terrible port of LA Noire, incredibly long delays on all the GTA ports and V is the worst by far) I’m amazed anyone with a PC will still give Rockstar the time of day.

    The hype train for GTA V left the station two years ago. It baffles me that all the PC gamers are still queuing to board this replacement bus service.

    • frightlever says:

      If they’d released the PC version alongside the PS3/360 versions, they’d probably be charging to upgrade to the current gen version now.

      I expect a new Red Dead will show up on PC, assuming Sony doesn’t nab it as an exclusive, which is highly unlikely.

    • thegooseking says:

      Still doesn’t matter. You have to remember that only three video game franchises have outsold Grand Theft Auto, and they’re all first-party Nintendo franchises. Even if Rockstar has taken a hit from people disgruntled with their treatment of the PC platform (and, speaking for myself, GTA V isn’t something I won’t buy, but for that reason it’s something I’ll get round to eventually, probably in a sale, rather than a day 1 purchase), that’s still not enough to stop the juggernaut.

    • hollowroom says:

      LA Noire nearly stopped me getting any more Rockstar games.. It was truly, truly awful. The game might have been good, but I never did get past the menu to find out.

      Ended up getting a refund on that one.

      • SuicideKing says:

        I was given that for free, and it’s the only Rockstar game ever installed on my own PC. I’ve seen people play GTA but never wanted to. Preferred Sleeping Dogs instead.

        • SuicideKing says:

          I didn’t really play much LA: Noire; maybe like an hour in total. 30 fps on a 85Hz CRT was horrible. Heck, wasn’t much better on a 60Hz LCD.

          • Ross Angus says:

            It was a slideshow at times for me (less than ten frames per second). Still played the ruddy heck out of it, just for the atmosphere.

        • hollowroom says:

          Sleeping Dogs is good, but the inability to bind the arrow keys for movement really wound me up. Should be standard these days.

      • fish99 says:

        That’s not a Rockstar game in any meaningful sense. They published it, but didn’t make it.

    • rabbit says:

      GTA series was for many years my favourite series of games by a long distance – dating right back to GTA London 1969.
      Last five years or so I have been far far more interested in RDR than GTA. But they can’t be arsed porting it so oh well maybe next time

    • Fiatil says:

      This post seems to ignore that Rockstar basically had a kiss and make up with the PC platform. Yeah GTA 4 was a terrible port, and I’m not trying to excuse that. But at some point you have to stop holding a grudge. They acknowledged their mistakes, and GTA 5 is a really good PC port. I’ve never played Max Payne 3, but all accounts are that it’s a really good port as well. Saying GTA 5 had a “troubled launch” is pretty disingenuous, because by that standard every large PC game launch has been troubled. People are equating having to download a day 1 patch and GTA online being kind of laggy the first day as troubled. There are people having legitimate issues, but it’s not even remotely close to a simcity or diablo 3 style launch debacle.

  10. derbefrier says:

    I kinda wish i would have held off and got the pc version instead of the xbone version. I miss my mouse and keyboard controls while in first person mode. I may actually break down and get it on payday. The first person mode is excellent but playing it with a controler not so much….

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      Aye, i use both control modes even if that requires moving the gamepad around, can’t really beat that kind of freedom.

      Depending on which kind of GPU you have now you might aswell hold off for a while, if you’re planning to upgrade ( or even need to ) at least, then get the game on sale. Not sure it’ll get lower than 25% for a full year though.

  11. heretic says:

    I’ve enjoyed the GTAs but feel they could do more with their storytelling.

    Picked up 4 on a mega sale and really want to try 5 now, though the price point has been a barrier so far. Under 20£ and you’re talking.

  12. vai90 says:

    Skyrim hasn’t even been in the top 10 of games with the most concurrent players for quite some time now. (scroll down for top records)

  13. boing99 says:

    “their beloved RPG has been toppled”

    “toppled”? as if it’s a tragedy, or some sporting event to have so many concurrent users and such. I like looking at charts too, music etc, but don’t get all bent out of shape, or even to the point I write an article, when something makes the #1 position I feel isn’t the best. Maybe you need a little perspective? When my favorite artist makes a top position, I’m happy, but when they don’t, I realize that another song made it because of other people’s choices. And people did what they wanted to do and that’s that. A bit too much worrying over something that trivial means you have too much time on your hands. Here take this broom, the steps need sweeping ;-)

  14. racccoon says:

    I spent 6 days on and off trying to download this game from a very unprofessional launcher called social club. that to me was the most annoying thing about the game its poor research into its pre– download release.

    Other than that once in a the game & I set the graphs settings up! the games as good as it can get.
    My only beef is the constant confusion of jumping NPC’s & annoying instant cut scenes, I think this idea is well..daft. They then have these popups saying if you do this and that you can improve your crew etc etc. or you improve fat freddy & jimmy the pong ( fictitious names). This to me is flaw to the game, I just want one guy I can concentrate on not many, I want to feel this is my own involvement & not be distracted by having to be forced to jump in some other guy in instant with no response to me saying NO! f off! .
    GTAV may be the greatest car come shooter game & I am having fun. but I’m confused why they placed this in the game. it does kind of spoil your fun, but I suppose it will HAVE TO grow on me as the world is amazing as it always was. I give it a 9.1 out of 10!

    Another thing I must say is….


    • Noam Beefheart says:

      Six days? That sucks. Only took me one. The downloader gave me no issues.

  15. Fushigi says:

    I will never get the point of bandit/hooker/drug-dealer simulator, ever. The game, which had stomping a cat to death as first notable recorded video? I’ll play something else, thank you very much.