Borderlands 2 has seen a big boost in popularity on the Steam store, becoming one of the most played titles according to some analytical data. This is something of a strange development considering the game was the recent attack of review bombs on Steam due to Gearbox announcing that their upcoming Borderlands 3 would be an Epic Games Store exclusive until 2020.
Borderlands 2 originally released in 2012 and instantly became one of the most popular games in the world. With sales north of 13 million copies sold worldwide, it's also the most successful game ever for publisher 2K. Its long-awaited sequel, Borderlands 3, was officially revealed at PAX East earlier this year and, should it follow in the footsteps of its predecessor, could prove to be one of the biggest games of the modern era. Still, it looks like Borderlands 2 isn't ready to go quietly into the night, as the game recently saw a huge boost in players on Steam just months away from the release of Borderlands 3.
According to GitHyp, which analyzes video game statistics and data, Borderlands 2 was one of the top 5 most played games on the Steam store last week. While it has remained in the top 50 most played games on the store, averaging around 10 thousand concurrent players for years now, its numbers recently shot up to around 60 thousand concurrent players. For comparison, Borderlands 2's highest numbers ever on Steam were 124 thousand concurrent players back in September of 2012.
There are a few potential reasons for Borderlands 2's sudden boost in popularity. Perhaps the most obvious is Gearbox's announcement of Borderlands 3, nearly seven years after the release of Borderlands 2. But there's also the fact that the game was just lowered in price by nearly 75 percent and the release of remastered graphics (completely free of charge) for The Handsome Collection (which packages both Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel together). While these are certainly contributors, it's still mighty impressive for such an older title to see a 500 percent increase in players, whatever the outside factors are.
Of course, there's another reason that players could be flocking back to Borderlands 2 in large numbers: the Borderlands 3 Epic Games Store exclusivity outrage. Gearbox's CEO has defended the move in spite of the growing concerns and complaints by consumers. Perhaps this is the player base showing Gearbox that they're more than content to play Borderlands 2 until the exclusivity clause ends in 2020. While there's no way to be certain either way, it's clear that the game is still popular even years after its original release. It'll be interesting to see if Borderlands 3 can have similar success when it drops later this year.