Steam Stats: Halloween sale drives massive spike in players

Steam Stats is a monthly dive into what’s hot on Steam based on their active player counts. This month’s stats arrive a little early but for a good reason: wild activity! Steam activity spiked on Halloween and All Saints Day (October 31 and November 1, respectively. Maybe the souls of the dead came back to life to gun their digital enemies down in Counter-Strike. The truth is probably nowhere near as interesting, but let’s dive into the numbers and see what we can find out. 

Peak player counts

The fun began at the stroke of midnight on Oct. 31. The numbers throughout the year, up until this point, tend to float around the seven million user mark. On that night, however, the number of active users clocked in at around nine million. The numbers then spiked up to 15 million at 8am (Pacific time) and declined steadily to their lowest point: roughly nine million users around 9pm. This is unusual because the numbers in the past would spike at 11am before dipping to a low point around 5pm – 7pm.

The same story repeats the following day with a similar pattern. 9 million users greet the start of the day on midnight with another peak of 15 million users around 8am, before dipping to nine million users around 9pm.

What could account for these wild numbers? One possibility is the Steam Halloween sale. Steam announced this year’s annual holiday sale on Oct. 26 and continued it until early morning on Nov. 1. The folks at Steam went wild and sold a ton of games at discount prices, anywhere from 10% of to 90% off.

Top 20 on Halloween

  1. PLAYERUNKNOWNS BATTLEGROUNDS
  2. Dota 2
  3. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  4. Warframe
  5. Team Fortress 2
  6. Grand Theft Auto V
  7. Rocket League
  8. ARK: Survival Evolved
  9. Payday 2
  10. Garry’s Mod
  11. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
  12. Football Manager 2017
  13. Sid Meier’s Civilization V
  14. Total War: Warhammer II
  15. Paladins
  16. Rust
  17. Euro Truck Simulator 2
  18. Dead By Daylight
  19. H1Z1
  20. Arma 3

Top 20 on Nov. 1

  1. PLAYERUNKNOWNS BATTLEGROUNDS
  2. Dota 2
  3. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  4. Warframe
  5. Team Fortress 2
  6. Grand Theft Auto V
  7. Rocket League
  8. ARK: Survival Evolved
  9. Payday 2
  10. Garry’s Mod
  11. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
  12. Football Manager 2017
  13. Euro Truck Simulator 2
  14. H1Z1
  15. Sid Meier’s Civilization V
  16. Rust
  17. Total War: Warhammer II
  18. Unturned
  19. Assassin’s Creed Origins
  20. Dead By Daylight

The new addition on both days is Dead By Daylight, although its inclusion isn’t that surprising considering the time of the year. The online multiplayer game challenges four players with escaping the clutches of a serial killer intent on killing them. The serial killers include classic horror film villains such as Freddy from A Nightmare On Elm Street, Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Michael Myers from Halloween.