36% of all games registered on Steam have never been played – report

Wednesday, 16th April 2014 05:59 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Steam users are familiar with the regret of purchases that never get played; according to a new report, 36% of all Steam games fall into this category.


Ars Technica used a random sample of the approximately 172 million publicly accessible Steam profile pages to generate this information, scraping data from up to 90,000 profiles per day for “about two months”.

The site turned up plenty of other interesting facts. The most owned game on Steam is free-to-play MOBA Dota 2 with 25 million owners, which is pretty good for a game that was invite-only until a few months ago.

Team Fortress 2 is next with 20 million owners – another free-to-play title, it’s worth noting – with the numbers dropping off sharply thereafter.

If you look at the same list of games but pay attention to player figures, it’s interesting to note that Half-Life 2: Lost Coast has not been played by 10.7 million of its 12.77 million owners. Half-life 2: Deathmatch has a similar stat, having been played by just 2.8 million of its 11.02 million owners. Both games are free with various Half-life bundles.

When you just look at total player numbers, Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2 still reign supreme, and once you look at total hours devoted to each game, the two heavyweights are joined by Counter-strike: Source and Counter-strike. Dota 2 has accumulated so many hours of play time that Ars couldn’t even fit it on the same chart as the other games.

In terms of total hours per player, though, Football Manager 2014 is top dog at about 100 median hours, with Skyrim in second place and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 just behind.

We didn’t want to just repost Ars Technica’s full set of charts, so it’s really worthwhile clicking through to see the full results – as well as for a more complete discussion of how the site gathered its data.




  1. melonbuster1

    Because most is crapware. . Pc master race crap.. God bless the elite lol.

    #1 8 months ago
  2. Xbone

    @melonbuster1 U jelly peasant?
    No. Its more like “ooohh… this game is soo cheap. I always wanted to play this”. We buy the game then another game comes along and we kinda forget the previous.

    #2 8 months ago
  3. Blackened Halo

    Half Life 2 Lost Coast is but a tech demo – one short level …thats why it hasnt been played by many

    #3 8 months ago
  4. OwnedWhenStoned

    I just don’t have the time to buy all of the stuff I get in sales. I spend too much time cycling now I live somewhere with decent weather. Still to play The Witcher 2, Hotline Miami, Company of Heroes 2, Far Cry: Blood Dragon and Batman. And that’s just the ones I can remember.

    #4 8 months ago
  5. IceLemming

    In some of its data plots ars should have used logarithmic plots (y-axis using 1,10, 100, …, 1 million, 10 million) then you could see much more information.
    But still very interesting but not too surprising.

    #5 8 months ago
  6. El_MUERkO

    I’ve bought bundles in Steam sales for 1 or 2 of the the games in them as they work out cheaper than buying the games seperately, I have over 300 games, I’ve maybe played 200 and probably completed 50ish :)

    #6 8 months ago
  7. tenthousandgothsonacid

    Sure the headline should be ’37%’ ?

    I’d love to see similar stats for console games but we’ll never get to. I wonder if devs anguish over how few people finish their games yet it’s widespread. At least the recently introduced percentages on psn trophies give us a vague clue.

    #7 8 months ago
  8. lubu

    @1 shot the F-up
    most of the times i use steam offline, it saves my playtime but for a few hours only. there are games i played over 100hrs but steam show 0hrs because i never played them when i was online.

    #8 8 months ago
  9. fengato

    My unplayed percentage is a bit worse than the average – i get excited when new stuff hits, though never get around to sitting up at my desk to play.

    #9 8 months ago
  10. Digital Bamboo

    I think the more shocking stat in that pie chart is that 1% of users have logged more than 459 hours on a single game. Not shocking that people like that exist, it’s just a fuck of a lot of play time. I can’t imagine a game staying fun for even half that amount of time. I mean, that’s more hours than I played Oblivion, Skyrim & FFXII COMBINED. But I suppose when you’re logging that many hours, it stopped being about “fun” a long time ago.

    #10 8 months ago
  11. xxJPRACERxx

    I have about 300 games on Steam and I’ve played less than 50 % of them. Damn Steam sales!

    #11 8 months ago
  12. Luciferous

    @Digital Bamboo a lot of those games will be MMOs/MOBAs, games people play socially or competitiely.

    #12 8 months ago
  13. OwnedWhenStoned

    @Digital Bamboo

    I remember seeing my stats for BF2 back in the day and being shocked at the amount of hours played – it adds up quick…

    #13 8 months ago
  14. fearmonkey

    I’m guilty of this, all those bundle sales and such. I have a bunch of games Id love to finish or start playing and havent yet.

    #14 8 months ago
  15. Panthro

    I hate having so many games to choose that I never get to play them all :/

    I wish I was a console gamer with such an overpriced limited selection of games to deter me away from gaming as much, life would be much simpler.

    Depressing, but simpler.

    #15 8 months ago
  16. jamesx

    @Digital Bamboo Some Steam Games are MMOs. Those can last years and years.

    #16 8 months ago

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