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The big picture: As the follow-up to a notoriously complex Dungeons & Dragons RPG, Baldur’s Gate 3 might not be the most accessible game, but that didn’t prevent a very successful launch week for Larian Studios’ latest release. The turn-based fantasy RPG is already among Steam’s most-played games and has yet to arrive on consoles.
Three days after exiting Early Access, Baldur’s Gate 3 is the top-selling game on Steam and the second most-played title behind only Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Its over 700,000 concurrent players put it above evergreen titans like PUBG, Dota 2, and Apex Legends.
Furthermore, all-time peak player counts on SteamDB put Larian’s latest RPG in ninth place overall, ahead of Valheim and right behind Hogwarts Legacy. The numbers make Baldur’s Gate 3 easily the most successful Larian title on Steam, with seven times as many players as the critically lauded Divinity: Original Sin 2.
– Swen Vincke @where? (@LarAtLarian) August 3, 2023
One boost to the game’s popularity is that it successfully gained Steam Deck verification within days of its launch. PC Gamer suggests portable users play the game in DirectX 11 at medium-to-low settings with the framerate capped at 30fps. Moreover, the outlet says conventional PCs with Nvidia GPUs should also use DX11, but Vulkan is better for AMD and Intel cards.
Steam alone doesn’t represent all Baldur’s Gate 3 players, as the game is also available on GOG and cloud streaming through GeForce NOW. The September 6 release on PlayStation 5 and Mac, and later launch on Xbox, could significantly add to the title’s player base. Larian delayed the Xbox release to 2024 because it’s struggling to optimize the two-player split-screen co-op mode for the Xbox Series S. Baldur’s Gate 3 supports cross-save between all platforms.
One of the earliest signs that the game would be a hit is that Steam saw a spike in outage complaints on August 3. A primary likely reason for the server congestion is that Larian couldn’t offer preloads for the 122 GB title, an unfortunate consequence of the Early Access program requiring everyone to download it almost simultaneously. Players who had tested the game for three years also had to delete and re-download everything.
Larian plans to add mod support to Baldur’s Gate 3 at an unspecified date. The company also wants to make another Divinity game after taking a creative break.