The Steam Summer Sale's hottest game wasn't even on sale

Hint: chicken dinner.

Sean Hollister Senior Editor / Reviews
When his parents denied him a Super NES, he got mad. When they traded a prize Sega Genesis for a 2400 baud modem, he got even. Years of Internet shareware, eBay'd possessions and video game testing jobs after that, he joined Engadget. He helped found The Verge, and later served as Gizmodo's reviews editor. When he's not madly testing laptops, apps, virtual reality experiences, and whatever new gadget will supposedly change the world, he likes to kick back with some games, a good Nerf blaster, and a bottle of Tejava.
Sean Hollister
2 min read

Steam's sales are famous. But this summer, one game didn't need it. 

Notice anything strange about this picture? 

Screenshot by Sean Hollister/CNET

The game topping the charts is the only one without a discount. 

And while other games on this list rose and fell during the 13 days of the Steam Summer Sale, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) seems to have dominated the entire time. 

(We checked repeatedly during the sale, and we never saw it leave the top spot -- though we're willing to entertain the possibility that it might have, late one night, when we weren't looking.)

The game -- which paradrops you onto an island with 99 other players in a battle to the death, and is one of the most addictive things I've ever played -- had already sold 4 million copies in just 3 months, before the sale even began. 

And according to SteamSpy estimates, which you'll want to take with a grain of salt, PUBG added an additional 665,000 players between June 22, the first day of the sale, and the sale's end date of July 5.


From a different day of the Steam Sale.

Screenshot by Sean Hollister/CNET

Mind you, that 665K number doesn't quite explain why PUBG topped the charts. According to SteamSpy, some other games actually sold more copies.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, for instance, gained an estimated 800,000 new owners between June 22 and July 5 -- and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive may have added as many as 871,000 players to that wildly popular online game. (Counter-Strike is one of only two Steam games that has more online players than PUBG at any given moment, according to SteamCharts.)

But since both of those games went on sale for much less money -- just $4.00 for Shadow of Mordor, and $10 for Counter-Strike -- and Steam ranks its top sellers by revenue, not sales, PUBG stayed on top.


From yet another day of the sale. 

Mein MMO

Compared with some of the other Steam top sellers during the sale (we pulled these from SteamSpy, too), it looks like PUBG may have cleaned up an awful lot:

  • The Witcher 3 (roughly 320,000 new owners)
  • Stardew Valley (roughly 302,000 new owners)
  • Fallout 4 (roughly 301,000 new owners)
  • H1Z1: King of the Hill (roughly 282,000 new owners)
  • Grand Theft Auto V (roughly 275,000 new owners)
  • Hollow Knight (roughly 239,000 new owners)
  • Doom (roughly 198,000 new owners)
  • Black Desert Online (roughly 176,000 new owners)
  • Dishonored 2 (roughly 166,000 new owners)

If you're thinking of giving PUBG a whirl yourself, you may want to check out our full beginner's guide. It's got GIFs and everything.