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In an event called “Breaking the Bar”, the Half-Life community decided to rally together and get as many concurrent players together as possible. The rules were simple: starting at 3pm UTC, everyone who wanted to take part simply had to run (and ideally play) Half-Life 2, while prominent streamers would be playing the game to raise attention. The reasoning is maybe a little more ambiguous, but sometimes you simply have to rally behind something—and they did it, hitting a peak of 16,101 concurrent players at exactly 3.30pm, with an additional 8,630 viewers on Twitch.
An interesting detail here is that Half-Life 2 is, well, old. Released in 2004, it predates many of Steam’s features, including the ability to track data like time spent in a game and concurrent players. The goal they had to beat was 6,882 concurrent players—which they more than doubled—but we can’t actually know how many people played Half-Life 2 in 2004. Were there ever more than 7000 concurrent players before now? Add it to the life stats you get to be eternally curious about.
Half-Life 2: Remastered Collection was recently listed on SteamDB, and is an in-process mod from the same group as did the Half Life 2: Update mod.