With PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds now firmly at the top of Steam's most played games list, there is only two records left to beat - all-time peak player count and total hours played. While the former will fall in due time, the later record is just around the corner.
With PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds ripping through Steam's record stats like it owns the place there is quite a startling observation to be made about a very specific statistic - total hours played.
The current record holder DOTA 2, needed over 4 years to accumulate its current total of 407,806,696 hours at the time of writing, according to SteamCharts. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has now managed to get astonishingly close to this number with 328,405,539 hours, and unlike DOTA 2 Bluehole's battle royale shooter needed less than 6 months to get this far.
There is no question that it just takes a few more weekends for PUBG to leave DOTA 2 in the dust. This scenario appears increasingly likely when you consider that PUBG is rapidly gaining players, while DOTA 2 has been slowly but surely losing momentum, and is actually experiencing a slow decline since mid-2016.
To make things even more baffling, DOTA 2 is a free-to-play game, while PUBG costs actual money.
The reasons for this could be many - different appeals of different genres to different demographics; DOTA 2's steep learning curve and ultra-competitive community, compared with PUBG's relatively straight-forward gameplay and a crowd that still needs to grow a properly ferocious core playerbase; the fact that PUBG has enjoyed media coverage that most AAA titles can only dream of; or it might just be that the novelty of the battle royale shooter has yet to wear off.
All of the current stats are still missing the probably considerable number of players that don't buy Early Access games for various reasons, and PUBG is still approaching an Xbox One release with cross-play between the two platforms being a distinct possibility. Concurrent player numbers aren't likely to go down in the near future, and there is no theoretical way of the total played hours figure going down, at least until someone finds a way to reverse time itself.
When PUBG inevitably passes the 500,000,000 total hours played mark, it will have done so in considerably less time than any Steam game before it. That number roughly translates to nearly 60,000 years of continuous playtime. While World of Warcraft would probably be a strong candidate to contest this record, good luck getting some concrete figures out of Blizzard.
The real fun will begin when PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds finally becomes a full release, microtransactions and all. Until then, we can sit in awe of what Bluehole studio have accomplished with probably a fraction of the budget that their closest competitors have at their disposal.