PC gaming service Steam sets new record high

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'Counter-Strike: Global Offensive' became free-to-play in December 2018, when it launched battle royale mode Danger Zone

Global lockdowns intended to stem the spread of COVID-19 seem to be pushing Steam usership to new heights, weekend by weekend, as the PC gaming service reached 23.5 million simultaneous users on March 30.

Players have pushed PC gaming service Steam to new user records for three weekends in a row.

Some 23.5 million users were using the network at the same time on March 30, 2020, a new high.

It had peaked at 23.4m users on Sunday, March 29.

Individual titles setting new in-game records over the weekend included free multiplayer action game "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive" (1.12m concurrent players) and soccer simulator "Football Manager 2020" (189,464), which was midway through a second week of free play.

Overall, Steam has seen an increase in concurrent users of 22.6% in the last 30 days, according to independent tracker SteamDB, after seeing monthly variances of -2.9% to +3.7% over the course of 2019.

Recent weekend highs of 20.3m (March 15) and 22.6m (March 22) coincided with a heightened awareness of the benefits of social distancing and shelter-in-place orders.

Following the WHO's declaration of worldwide pandemic status on March 11, and in response to the continuing spread of COVID-19 outside of Italy, several European territories implemented partial and full lockdowns during the week beginning March 16, for example.

Regional emergency declarations were made across the USA and Canada and, during the week of March 23, stay-at-home orders rolled out across an increasing number of US states and counties.