The titular helldiver holding their gun out as a structure burns in the distance.
Image: Arrowhead Game Studios/PlayStation PC LLC

It’s another sign of success for PlayStation’s PC strategy

Looks like PlayStation’s PC strategy is paying off. Helldivers 2, the third-person co-op shooter that launched Thursday, has become the company’s biggest Steam launch to date.

According to SteamDB, Helldivers 2 has reached 81,840 peak concurrent players on Steam just one day after release. (It’s since dropped to around 66,000 at the time of this writing.) That beats God of War (2018)’s previous concurrent peak of 73,529 when it hit PC back in 2022.

PlayStation has been looking to expand its offerings beyond just the PlayStation 5, so it’s released many first-party games on Steam months or years after console launch. Just in 2023, it put out Returnal and The Last of Us Part 1 for PC. Horizon Forbidden West and an Until Dawn remaster are on the way as well.

However, Helldivers 2 is the first PlayStation-published game to hit PS5 and PC simultaneously. Its day-one launch on PC could explain the high player count. After all, God of War had already been out for years on PlayStation 4 by the time it hit PC, so there’s a lot less momentum. Still, Helldivers 2 is a bit of a niche title and is much smaller in scope compared to the AAA titles PlayStation previously brought to the platform.

Simon Carless, founder of GameDiscoverCo, which tracks and analyzes Steam usage, said that the game’s success comes down a lot to co-op.

“I think co-op is key, and people are always looking for AAA-looking co-op games they can try with their buddies. And the original Helldivers being another great co-op game (although more of a twin-stick shooter!) is a great lead-in to the sequel,” he told Polygon.

Currently, Helldivers 2 has a mixed rating on Steam with just over 10,800 reviews. Like many other multiplayer games, it had a rough launch, with server and matchmaking issues. Players have also reported problems with Nprotect Gameguard (the game’s anti-cheat software) that could prevent the game from launching. Developer Arrowhead Game Studios has been working on fixes, and released a patch. I played the game for three hours last night and didn’t encounter too many issues besides some quickplay timeouts.