The bar is broken.
The Half-Life 2 community came together today to set the game’s highest concurrent player count since records began.
In mid-July, Valve game YouTubers joined up to issue players the “Breaking the Bar” challenge: beat Half-Life 2’s concurrents record by playing the game at 4pm today, 14th August.
The community wasn’t exactly sure what Half-Life 2’s concurrent peak was prior to today. According to Steam Charts, whose data goes back to July 2012, it was 6882, set back in March 2020 and sparked by the release of Half-Life: Alyx.
But according to SteamDB, whose data goes back to 2008, Half-Life 2’s prior concurrent peak was 12,953, set on 30th January 2012 as part of a fan campaign to push Valve to release more information on the future of the Half-Life series.
Half-Life 2 came out in November 2004, well before Steam Charts and SteamDB began tracking Steam stats. In truth, only Valve knows Half-Life 2’s true all-time peak concurrent player count.
Either way, Half-Life 2 players managed to beat both figures today, hitting 16,101 concurrent players this afternoon according to SteamDB, and 14,378 according to Steam Charts. Nearly 9000 tuned in to watch Half-Life 2 streams on Twitch.
The community came out of the gates swinging and completely destroyed both peaks! GG Everyone! pic.twitter.com/cJgcx1lJjW
— Radiation Hazard (@RadHaz_) August 14, 2021
The video below, from YouTube channel noclick, is a playthrough of the game held today that also tracked the concurrent count in real-time:
Why do this? For the hell of it, it seems. There’s no significant Half-Life anniversary, from what I can tell. The challenge isn’t some kind of call-to-arms in the hope Valve continues the legendary series with a third game, either. It’s just Half-Life fans doing something fun for themselves.
Mission accomplished, then!