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Study finds co-op games keep growing in numbers (and sales) on Steam

The power or two (or four).

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

July 3, 2024

2 Min Read
Super Marines in key art for 2024's Helldivers II.
Image via Arrowhead Game Studios/PlayStation.

At a Glance

  • The amount of Steam games with co-op as a selling point grows on a yearly basis, and they're outshining their solo brethren.

A new report from Video Game Insights shows that co-op games have become more prominent on Steam in recent years and that the trend will continue in 2024.

Per VGI, nearly 800 games with two or four-player co-op as a core mechanic came to Valve's storefront in 2023. 2018 had 383 games, making this a sizable increase of 108.6 percent.

Things really took off in 2020, which saw 647 games co-op games released on Steam. When the pandemic hit, those games made up 6.6 percent of the year's releases and 43 percent of all units solid.

For 2023, co-op titles made up 6 percent of Steam releases, but also 36 percent of games sold on the platform. Big titles in that demographic include Remnant II, Diablo IV, and Payday 3.

To date, 5 percent of all games released throughout 2024 have been co-op titles. The likes of Helldivers II, Palworld, and Content Warning have been notable successes in their own way, either in terms of player numbers or sales (or sometimes both).

Palworld currently accounts for 46 percent (or 19.1 million copies) of co-op game sales this year, followed by Helldivers II at 28 percent (11.4 million), then Content Warning's 6 percent (2.4 million) and Gray Zone Warfare's 3 percent (1.4 million).

According to VGI, good co-op games don't just need to be infinitely replayable. They also need to be shareable and hit virality in order to foster community and draw in new players, something best exemplified in Palworld and Helldivers II.

It's for that reason games with co-op elements tend to surpass those that are strictly single-player. Per its findings, a co-op game may sell 40,000 units on Steam (compared a solo game's 5,000), and the top 25 percent of cooperative games sell 300,000 copies in their lifetime.

VGI's full findings on co-op games released on Steam can be read here.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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