Steam’s Best of 2023 highlights top sellers, most played—apparently Steam Deck players really like Half-Life

Valve has released their annual Best of Steam 2023, a showcase of what was played most and made the most money broken down into roughly grouped tiers: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. In a year of absolutely great games, some of these chart-toppers aren’t surprises, but dang I’d never have guessed that Half-Life, the 1998 classic, would make the top tier of the most-played Steam Deck games by daily active players.

The list of top sellers by revenue is the usual mélange of the biggest free-to-play games on Steam alongside the largest releases, led by releases like Baldur’s Gate 3 and Starfield. Perhaps the biggest surprise there is Sons of the Forest cracking into the same tier as big AAA releases. Nice to see for what was once a tiny studio! The most-played games are nearly the same list, except for one.

Goose Goose Duck, the free-to-play game that copied Among Us so hard it became popular in almost exactly the same way. That one is in the list of most played overall, which is grouped by peak concurrent players, presumably because of its peak player count last January of over 700,000 people at once.

The section on New Releases by gross revenue is interesting, showing that more traditionally console-forward games like Jedi Survivor and Street Fighter 6 are finding real legs on Steam, charting alongside stuff like Baldur’s Gate 3 and Remnant 2. There’s also a real notice that people are definitely still buying games received badly: Payday 3 and Cities Skylines 2 are both in the top, Platinum, tier. Otherwise, to my surprise, Far Cry 6 only charted at Silver.

The top Early Access graduates this year, by revenue, include obvious ones like Baldur’s Gate 3, Ready or Not, and Against the Storm—but also less-talked-about games. You might be surprised to learn that farm life sim Sun Haven and battle royale Farlight 84 make the top tier of earners. For my part, seeing small-team indies like World of Horror and Your Only Move is Hustle chart at all is heartwarming.

Finally that Steam Deck category, which is probably a better most played because it’s by daily active players, not peak players. It’s all pretty predictable, and makes sense:  The Witcher 3, Dave the Diver, Vampire Survivors, alongside some of the most popular new releases and great, deck-friendly games of the last few years. Really predictable… except apparently a lot of someones, not including me, are playing a boatload of Half-Life. Like, straight-up Gordon Freeman in Black Mesa released in 1998 Half-Life. I am sure there’s an explanation but I don’t know it.

Valve also lists out two more categories, one for the games most played with controllers and another for VR. You see the rest of the Steam Best of 2023 right on web browser Steam.