Nightingale and Balatro are drastically different games released on the same day: one is a Victorian survival title and the other is a poker roguelike. But they both managed to attract tens of thousands of concurrent players at launch.

Nightingale and Balatro break into top 10 Steam releases of 2024 by peak concurrent players

Nightingale (left) / Balatro (right)

What to know about Nightingale and Balatro

  • Launched on February 20, Nightingale is a PvE open world survival game set in the Victoriana fantasy world. It features a co-op mode, as well as crafting, building, and other elements typical to the genre.
  • Nightingale is also another Early Access survival title that is showing good numbers on Steam this year. It joins the likes of Palworld and Enshrouded; the only difference is that Nightingale has much less positive reviews from players (we’ll discuss this later in the article).
  • The game is the first project from Inflexion Games, a Canadian studio founded in 2021 by former BioWare general manager Aaryn Flynn (he worked there for 17 years). The team includes other BioWare veterans, with games like Neverwinter Knights, Dragon Age, Star Wars: KOTOR, and Mass Effect on their portfolio.
  • In February 2022, Tencent acquired Inflexion Games for an undisclosed sum. As a result, Nightingale was published by the Chinese tech giant’s label Level Infinite (primarily focused on games from Western developers).

  • Balatro, also released on February 20, is a game in a completely different category. It is a deck-building roguelike, but instead of fighting various creatures with your cards, you play the game of poker with unique combinations and combos. So it is an interesting mix of both worlds, with great art design and a simple yet addictive hook.
  • It is worth noting that roguelike deckbuilders are one of the most lucrative genres on Steam in terms of median revenue. The issue is that there are not many games released in this category compared to other genres. As marketing expert Chris Zukowski pointed out, “the audience here seems insatiable and not enough devs are making purely roguelike deck builders.”
  • Balatro, made by Canadian solo developer LocalThunk (with additional help from other people), received warm reviews from critics, with an average Metascore of 94. This is a huge achievement for such a small game in terms of production costs.
  • The title was published by Playstack, a UK company best known for launching Mortal Shell, The Case of the Golden Idol, and The Entropy Centre, as well as mobile titles like Snipers vs Thieves and Survival City.

How did Nightingale and Balatro perform at launch?

According to SteamDB, Nightingale peaked at 47,569 concurrent players. Despite a solid start, the graph quickly started declining.

One of the possible reasons is that the game currently has a “Mixed” rating on Steam, with just 54% of the 2,940 user reviews being positive. Many players criticize Nightingale for requiring a constant online connections, complaining about server errors and high ping even in single-player mode.

Inflexion Games has yet to address the matter, currently working on hot fixes and collecting feedback. But there is a chance that the game’s user rating could improve over time, as could its active player count.

Balatro has already peaked at 23,636 concurrent players on Steam. Its CCU count could increase over the weekend, giving it a chance to surpass Slay the Spire, arguably the most successful deck-building roguelike on Steam with an all-time high of 33,086 CCU.

LocalThunk’s game also received an overwhelmingly positive reception from players, with 99% of 2,136 user reviews being positive. The rating will likely drop a bit in the future, but Balatro could end up being one of the top-rated Steam titles of 2024.

The strong launches of both games helped them enter the top 10 new releases of 2024 by peak concurrent players. Nightingale currently sits between Tekken 8 and Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, while Balatro rounds out the top 10, surpassing Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League’s peak of 13.4k CCU.

The full top 10 can be seen below (as of February 21):

  1. Palworld — 2.1 million CCU;
  2. Helldivers 2 — 409k CCU;
  3. Enshrouded — 160.4k CCU;
  4. Granblue Fantasy: Relink — 114k CCU;
  5. Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor — 56.9k CCU;
  6. Tekken 8 — 49.9k CCU;
  7. Nightingale — 47.5k CCU;
  8. Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth — 46.1k CCU.
  9. Persona 3 Reload — 45k CCU;
  10. Balatro — 23.6k CCU.

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