It is time to look back at another record year for Steam in terms of new game releases. Today we are exploring the top titles of 2023 by player count and user rating, while also digging into other data about the platform in general.

Inside another record year for Steam with over 14k new game releases: top titles by peak CCU and user rating

2023 on Steam in numbers

  • According to SteamDB, a total of 14,423 new games were released on Steam in 2023, up 14.5% year-over-year.
  • Unsurprisingly, October was the peak month for new releases with 1,320 launches, followed by August (1,285) and March (1,270).
  • Over the past five years, the number of new titles released on Steam has grown steadily at an annual average rate of 10.5%. The only exception was 2019, when there was an 8.6% decrease compared to 2018.

  • 2023 was also a record year for Steam in terms of peak concurrent players. On March 26, a total of 33,598,520 users accessed the platform simultaneously.
  • On January 8, Steam recorded over 10 million active in-game players for the first time ever. It crossed that mark three more times throughout the year, hitting a new all-time high of 10,389,646 in December.

Concurrent Steam users and active in-game players throughout 2023 (via SteamDB)

  • Fun fact: the digital version of business board game The Leverage Game was the most expensive new release of 2023 at $999.98. Note that it has no visible reviews, and the whole rationale behind such a high pricing is unclear.
  • Singleplayer was the most popular tag of 2023 on Steam, used in 12,089 games. It is followed by Indie (9.3k), Casual (8.8k), Action (8.5k), Adventure (8k), 2D (6.4k), Simulation (5.5k), 3D (5.3k), RPG (5.2k), and Strategy (4.8k).
  • 2,462 new releases used the Early Access tag this year, up 35% compared to 2022. The number of EA titles continues to increase each year at a faster rate than the total number of new games on Steam. And while the Early Access model perfectly fits some projects, the biggest question remains the same — how many of these titles will live up to the 1.0 launch?
  • The top 10 most popular languages remained almost unchanged from 2022: English, Simplified Chinese, Japanese (+2 positions), German (-1), French (-1), Spanish – Spain, Russian, Korean (+1), Italian (-1), Traditional Chinese.

Most played new games of 2023 (by peak CCU)

When looking at the top 20 new releases of 2023 by peak concurrent players*, Hogwarts Legacy and Baldur’s Gate 3 have outshone all other games by a wide margin, peaking at 879k CCU and 875k CCU respectively:

*Note: We excluded two titles that appeared on SteamDB’s 2023 charts — Chinese action RPG with Vampire Survivors-esque combat Tale of Immortal, because it reached its peak of 184,171 concurrent users in 2021 (two years before its 1.0 launch in May 2023), and VPet (85,551 peak CCU), because it is more of a free tamagotchi-like desktop app than a full-fledged game.

  1. Hogwarts Legacy — 879,308 CCU;
  2. Baldur’s Gate 3 — 875,343 CCU;
  3. Sons of the Forest — 414,257 CCU;
  4. Starfield — 330,723 CCU;
  5. The Finals — 242,619 CCU;
  6. Lethal Company — 240,817 CCU
  7. Resident Evil 4 — 168,191 CCU;
  8. Armored Core VI — 156,171 CCU;
  9. Remnant II — 110,856 CCU;
  10. Cities: Skylines II — 104,697 CCU;
  11. Party Animals — 104,174 CCU;
  12. Dave the Diver — 98,480 CCU;
  13. ARK: Survival Ascended — 98,047 CCU;
  14. BattleBit Remastered — 87,323 CCU;
  15. Football Manager 2024 — 86,900 CCU;
  16. EA Sports FC 24 — 82,287 CCU;
  17. Payday 3 — 77,938 CCU;
  18. Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty — 75,906 CCU;
  19. Overwatch 2 — 75,608 CCU;
  20. Street Fighter 6 — 70,573 CCU.

Most played games of 2023 on Steam

Top 10 new Steam releases of 2023 by peak concurrent players

Other notable game releases in terms of peak concurrent players include Star Wars Jedi: Survivor (67.8k CCU), Ready or Not (55.1k), Warhammer 40k: Rogue Trader (45.4k), Risk of Rain Returns (45.1k), Age of Wonders 4 (42.8k), Atomic Heart (38.4k), Mortal Kombat 1 (38.1k), Brotato (32.2k), and Dead Space (30.9k).

Some may ask, “Shouldn’t Call of Duty be on this list given its commercial success?” The problem is that while Modern Warfare III is sold as a standalone game, it is linked to the main Call of Duty HQ app (also includes MWII and Warzone) as some sort of DLC. This makes the game almost untrackable using publicly available metrics. According to SteamDB, Call of Duty peaked at 190,707 concurrent players shortly after MWIII launched on November 10, but it is unclear how many users played the new title specifically.

Call of Duty player count, including the spike that occurred at the launch of Modern Warfare III (via SteamDB)

The same problem applies to Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty. Following the expansion’s launch, the base game’s player count skyrocketed, peaking at 247,526 CCU. For the first time since its initial launch in December 2020, Cyberpunk 2077 has crossed the 200k mark. While player interest and commercial success are undeniable (PC accounted for nearly 70% of Phantom Liberty’s sales), it is difficult to track the share of users playing the expansion at the time vs. those who returned to the base game/tried it for the first time due to the release of patch 2.0.

Spike in Cyberpunk 2077’s concurrent players following the launch of patch 2.0 and Phantom Liberty (via SteamDB)

To wrap this section up, here are a few more interesting observations:

  • No new games reached 1 million concurrent players this year — unlike 2022, when free-to-play MMORPG Lost Ark peaked at 1,325,305 CCU (Elden Ring came close with a peak CCU of 953k);
  • Three new releases managed to break into the top 20 most played Steam games of all time: Hogwarts Legacy (#9), Baldur’s Gate 3 (#10), and Sons of the Forest (#20);
  • Overall, only 12 of the 12,958 games featured in SteamDB’s 2023 charts managed to attract 100k+ concurrent players, 25 peaked at 50k+ CCU, and just over 100 titles peaked at 10k+ CCU. This is further evidence of how vast (and bottomless) the Steam ocean really is.
  • Note that most indie/smaller games don’t need these extremely high CCUs to sell well and be successful. It is also worth noting that only 132 games have ever peaked at over 100k concurrent players on Steam.
  • Of the top 20 titles, four were developed by indie studios: Baldur’s Gate 3, Sons of the Forest, Lethal Company, and BattleBit Remastered. Some may argue that BG3 doesn’t fall into this category given its budget, team size, and other factors, but Larian Studios is still an independent company — both legally and creatively;
  • Only two* titles in the top 20, The Finals and Overwatch 2, are free-to-play (*three if you add VPet);
  • Seven games are new IPs: Starfield, Lethal Company, Party Animals, Dave the Diver, BattleBit Remastered, and Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty. Other titles in the top 20 are either based on large franchises or are sequels to successful series (or both!).

Top-rated new games of 2023 (by user score)

At the moment of writing, HoloCure – Save the Fans! has the highest user rating of any game released on Steam in 2023. It is a completely free roguelite / bullet heaven title featuring Hololive’s VTubers and heavily inspired by Vampire Survivors. Created by former River City Girls lead animator Kay Yu, HoloCure currently has a 97.02% score on SteamDB based on over 26k user reviews.

Other free-to-play titles among the top-rated new games of 2023 include hidden object puzzler Cats Hidden in Paris (96.27%), humorous exploration game Pineapple on pizza (95.62%), Sega’s visual novel The Murder of Sonic Hedgehog (95.18%), and Steam Engine Simulator (95.35%). The latter was released as a “joke” by YouTuber/programmer AngeTheGreat but ended up generating 90k downloads in 30 days.

Below are the top 15 premium titles of 2023 by user score*:

*Note: SteamDB uses its own formula biased towards the average rating of 50% to estimate the score, so it may slightly differ from the one displayed on the store: “For every 10x the reviews we have, we should be 2x more certain that the rating is correct.” This means if a game has 1 review, SteamDB is 100% uncertain about what its rating should be, 10 reviews — 50% uncertain, 100 reviews — 25% uncertain, etc. That’s why Lethal Company’s 98% user score translates into 96.99%, and the more reviews it receives, the closer it gets to the actual rating on Steam.

  1. Lethal Company | 96.99% (based on over 207k reviews) — co-op horror scavenging game made by solo dev Zeekerss, who previously created UGC experiences for Roblox;
  2. Pizza Tower | 96.76% (based on over 49k reviews) — 2D platformer focused on really fast-paced gameplay from indie team Tour De Pizza;
  3. Resident Evil 4 | 96.42% (based on over 117k reviews) — remake of the classic horror / action game from Capcom;
  4. Dave the Diver | 95.99% (based on over 81k reviews) — genre-bending adventure / management game by Nexon’s subsidiary Mintrocket;
  5. Baldur’s Gate 3 | 95.85% (based on over 509k reviews) — new chapter in the Baldur’s Gate series made by Divinity: Original Sin developer Larian Studios;
  6. Papa’s Freezeria Deluxe | 95.79% (based on over 6.6k reviews) — time management / job simulator from Flipline Studios, previously known for its web and mobile titles;
  7. Brotato | 95.68% (based on over 68k reviews) — roguelite arena shooter / bullet heaven game created by solo developer Blobfish;
  8. Crab Champions | 95.67% (based on over 17k reviews) — roguelike third-person shooter with a catchy hook (a crab holding guns in its claws sounds fun!) made by solo dev Noisestorm;
  9. Volcano Princess | 95.6% (based on over 27k reviews) — social sim developed by Chinese studio Egg Catcher and published by Gamera Games;
  10. Lizards Must Die | 95.36% (based on over 21k reviews) — viral hack and slash game based on a Russian meme about the fictional war of the ancient Rus’ against the lizard people (and all the alternate history events surrounding it);
  11. Bomb Rush Cyberfunk | 95.29% (based on over 8k reviews) — action platformer by indie studio Team Reptile, heavily inspired by Jet Set Radio;
  12. Hi-Fi Rush | 95.28% (based on over 21k reviews) — rhythm-based action title from Tango Gameworks, a Bethesda-owned studio previously known for its horror series The Evil Within;
  13. Chants of Sennaar | 95.25% (based on over 7k reviews) — adventure / puzzle title developed by French indie studio Rundisc and published by Focus Entertainment;
  14. SANABI | 94.75% (based on over 14k reviews) — action platformer from Korean developer Wonder Potion and publisher Neowiz;
  15. The Coffin of Andy and Leyley | 94.73% (based on over 11k reviews) — psychological horror / adventure title with visual novel elements originally created by indie dev Nemlei and now owned and operated by Kit9 Studio.

Top-rated new games of 2023 on Steam

Top 10 new premium games of 2023 on Steam by user rating

Where there are winners, there are, unfortunately, also outsiders.

According to SteamDB, Overwatch 2 became the worst-rated release of 2023, with just 16.15% of more than 229k user reviews being positive. Players criticized Blizzard for canceling the promised PvE mode and using “predatory” monetization practices, not to mention tons of negative reviews from the Chinese audience.

However, if we take into account only premium titles with 100+ reviews, the controversial shooter The Day Before would top this anti-record chart with a 17.6% rating on SteamDB. Its launch was so disastrous that many players called the game a “scam”, and developer Fntastic announced its shutdown just days after the Early Access release.

The Day Before is followed by Only Up! (19%) from MoreMoto Games, which just copied the original climbing platformer that went viral on Steam earlier this year and was eventually delisted by its creator SCKR Games in September.

Other worst-rated premium titles of 2023 include NBA 2K24 (19.28%), multiplayer zombie shooter Dead Matter (20.55%), the now-abandoned survival RPG Kingdoms of Ereloth (21.56%), horror title Stray Souls (30.39%) and Arkane’s infamous co-op shooter Redfall (33.1%).

Worst-rated games of 2023 on Steam

Top 10 worst-rated premium games of 2023 on Steam

While the above data doesn’t include every great game released in 2023, it can still tell a lot about the state of the Steam market, filled with chart-topping AAA releases, indie breakout hits, hobbyist projects, and infamous disasters. So let’s hope 2024 will bring us more surprise hits and high-quality, successful titles.

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