2016 was a fantastic year for gaming. Regardless of your platform of choice, there was likely something or other out there that was sure to blow your socks off, and rob you of all of your spare time.
On PC funnily enough, on Steam to be exact, gamers poured lots of their energy into titles that didn’t even come out last year. This is according to GitHyp – a tool that tracks the platform’s most player games – who shared the following findings from 2016 (via Kotaku):
Dota 2 / 636,607 avg. players per hour (#1 in 2015)
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive / 360,600 avg. players per hour (#2 in 2015)
Team Fortress 2 / 50,802 avg. players per hour (#4 in 2015)
Grand Theft Auto V / 40,258 avg. players per hour (#5 in 2015)
Sid Meier’s Civilization V / 37,885 avg players per hour (#9 in 2015)
ARK: Survival Evolved / 36,982 avg players per hour (#7 in 2015)
Football Manager 2016 / 32,871 avg players per hour (#11 in 2015)
Garry’s Mod / 31,943 avg players per hour (#10 in 2015)
The Elder Scrolls V / 28,648 avg players per hour (#14 in 2015)
Rocket League / 28,545 avg players per hour (#16 in 2015)
Interestingly, the top five most played games of 2016 are almost identical the those the year before. The only new entry is Sid Meier’s Civilization V, which is odd, especially considering that Civilization VI is out. The sequel only launched in October however, so perhaps it hasn’t had enough time (or reached the right price) to garner the same sort of momentum as its predecessor.
Back to the point, it’s understandable why all of these titles feature on the list over and above other new releases in 2016. They’re all games that are wildly popular and for the most part, multiplayer focused, which means that they have no real end. Trust me, I’ve poured around 4000 hours into Dota 2 for example, and its conclusion (the point where I felt I had mastered the game) was still not in sight. It’s the sort of title you could play forever if you really wanted to.
When it comes to ranking games by their highest peak player count, the landscape changes, and actually features titles that launched in 2016. Take a look:
Dota 2 / 1,286,617 peak players (#1 in 2015)
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive / 845,806 peak players (#2 in 2015)
No Man’s Sky / 212,321 peak players (new)
XCOM 2 / 132,834 peak players (new)
Dark Souls III / 129,922 peak players (new)
Grand Theft Auto V / 126,681 peak players (#5 in 2015)
Fallout 4 / 119,407 peak players (#3 in 2015)
Tom Clancy’s The Division / 113,685 peak players (new)
Total War: Warhammer / 111,909 peak players (new)
Rocket League / 102,175 peak players (#21 in 2015)
Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive keep top honours, but many of the other games from the previous list don’t even feature. No Man’s Sky, arguably the biggest disappointment of 2016, manages to snag third spot for example. This I guess, is testament to its marketing machine that got so many hyped for it before release. That peak player count is nowhere near that high today.
While these lists and numbers are fascinating, I do wonder where other top PC games would sit were they included. Overwatch for example is played by a plethora of PC gamers today, albeit on Battlenet. The same can be said for EA’s Battlefield 1, which is being enjoyed over on Origin.
Personally, I feel were it considered, the former would topple Dota 2 as the most played game of 2016. Hell, it’d also likely have the highest peak player count too I reckon.
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