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This animated chart of the most played Steam games is unreasonably absorbing

I’m not big into numberwang. Vast numbers of people playing a game might indicate that it’s fun, or it might indicate that it’s Ark: Survival Evolved. (I haven’t played Ark and it could be amazing, this is irresponsible journalism and I will hand in my badge and gun shortly.) Point being, it’s more interesting to write about what has made a game popular than the fact that it is so.

Right. Now I have to convince you this animated graph of the most played Steam games from the past four years is fascinating.

It was posted to Reddit by “TheKarmaFiend”, and shows the top 15 Steam games by daily player count between January 2015 and December 2018.

Look at ’em go! I don’t normally find myself rooting for an entry on a blummin’ bar chart on a Monday morning, but seeing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive nip at Dota 2’s heels had me more invested than, well, most of the actual races I’ve ever seen. “Come on, GO! You can do it! Just a little bit further!”

It’s strange how much personality can manifest in a statistical representation of player habits. “Bang, I’m here!” goes Fallout 4, before swiftly falling off a cliff. “I’m not going anywhere”, says Team Fortress 2, stubbornly holding on to at least a mid-tier position. It is good to remember just how many people are still playing TF2. TF2 is still ace.

This is also the first time I’ve properly appreciated just how monstrous Plunkbat’s growth was. Reading all those 0’s was one thing, but it took seeing a graph double in scale to accommodate for them to properly sink in.

I’ve watched it nearly a dozen times now. It is time to stop doing that.

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Who am I?

Matt Cox


Matt is the founding member of RPS's youth contingent. He's played more games of Dota than you've had hot dinners.

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