Baldur’s Gate III is dominating the Steam charts with record-breaking numbers, surpassing the 800,000 concurrent player mark on August 6. To be precise, the peak count was 814,666, perching it as the ninth-highest ranking PC game, when sorted by all-time peak variable — right below Hogwarts Legacy. It’s an impressive feat, considering the game had been out for nearly three years now, albeit in early access, which allowed developer Larian Studios to slow-cook it to perfection based on player feedback. The completed version of the game dropped August 3 on PC and has shown no signs of slowing down.
While Baldur’s Gate 3’s release timing might’ve placed it in a position with no major competition in sight, it’s being received well for its in-depth story, characters, and outlandish romance options, all of which are determined by stats and dice rolls. It’s simple Dungeons & Dragons role-playing mechanics, filtered to suit a newer gaming audience fatigued by the overabundance of microtransactions, in-game purchases, and the need for an always-on internet connection. Even the cosmetics included in the Deluxe Edition were given for free to those who supported development by purchasing the Early Access version, as a kind gesture. Such smooth player-to-developer understanding is bound to bring good results — results that have now exceeded Larian Studios’ expectations.
Late last week, Larian CEO Swen Vincke tweeted out that he asked his IT team to expect Baldur’s Gate 3 to break 100,000 players. The result, however, was mindblowing, with the title breaking the 500,000-limit following launch day, sitting right beneath multiplayer behemoths Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2. As it crossed the aforementioned 800,000 barrier, Vincke was mainly concerned that there are no game-breaking bugs left in it. “God, I hope there’s no big bug left,” he said in an interview. “I don’t want to have that anger over me, but it’s part of the risk of making these very large RPGs.” Their previous title, Divinity: Original Sin II, which also featured turn-based combat and was based on DnD, peaked at just over 93,000 players.
Baldur’s Gate 3’s sales figures are unclear for now, but moving up the PC release from the initial August 31 date to August 3 clearly worked in their favour — helping them avoid a slew of bigwigs such as Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon, EA’s Immortals of Aveum, and Starfield (going into September). The thing that’s startling about this achievement is that on paper, Baldur’s Gate 3’s turn-based RPG design is something that doesn’t get adapted in mainstream gaming these days, but still, both fans and novices have flocked over to buy it despite the 20 years it has been since the previous instalment. It’s in fact so vast and in-depth in terms of lore that it caused some developers online to raise concerns that it shouldn’t become a new standard for RPGs. Understandably, this caused some backlash as well. For now, it’s a strong Game of the Year contender — garnering almost the same level of hype as Elden Ring last year.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is out now on PC. The PS5 version releases September 6, while the Xbox platforms might not see a release before 2024.