Half-Life is Breaking Its Record for Concurrent Players on Steam More Than 20 Years After Release

Half-Life is Breaking Its Record for Concurrent Players on Steam More Than 20 Years After Release

Valve's 1998 classic is enjoying a temporary popularity boost.

Whether you've been longing for the days of hectic deathmatch games on Crossfire or have never played through Valve's seminal first-person shooter, today's a very good day to play the original Half-Life. Earlier this week, Valve made the entire franchise free-to-play for a limited time, and since then the 1998 title has broken its peak number of players on Steam multiple times.

ResetEra user Arthands first noticed that Half-Life set a new peak (as measured by SteamDB) yesterday, with just north of 2,300 simultaneous players. That record was doubled a few hours later, and today Half-Life reached a new all-time peak of 6,022 players.

You'll find a similar trend in the charts for Half-Life 2, but the sequel's both nowhere near its all-time record and is currently pacing just a bit below its predecessor. Still, the influx of free players is enough to help both mainline Half-Life titles crack the top 100. Currently, more Steam users are playing the original Half-Life than Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Mortal Kombat 11, or Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

That's not too bad for a 21-year-old game. Half-Life's real concurrent player peak probably predates the existence of Steam, but at least we know that right now is probably the easiest time you'll ever have getting a quick round of deathmatch in since the mid-2000s.

Half-Life, along with its sequels and expansions, will remain free-to-play on Steam until Valve releases the VR-exclusive Half-Life: Alyx in March. In a recent Reddit AMA, Valve said it fully expects to make that release window, having already factored in the risk of a "Valve Time" delay before announcing the title.

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Mathew Olson


Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

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