For each Steam achievement, the platform gives statistics along the lines of "23.6% of players have this achievement". Who counts as a "player" for this calculation? (To put it another way, what is the denominator?)

It is relevant if you want to figure out how awesome you actually are.

For example, if "players" were defined as "anyone who has bought the game", then my achievement percentages compare me not only to people who have played the game, but also to those who haven't even downloaded it! Which means that my achievement is less impressive than one's initial intuitions might suggestion.

On the opposite end, you could define "players" as something like "anyone who has played the game for over an hour". Or perhaps "anyone who has played the game for at least as long as I have".

Maybe Valve answers this somewhere, but I couldn't find it easily.


1 Answer 1



Recently discovered the game Pinapple on Pizza, a free game which has an achievement for "Play" that had a 100% unlock. At the time of testing, there were 2,668 reviews and the game had been out for approximately 9 hours. I was unable to find a way to review a game I do not own, so it's safe to assume all those reviews have the game tied to their account, even if they may not have actually installed or started it.

Before adding to account, before installing, and after installing, the percentage for "Play" remained at 100%. I started the game just to see how the achievement worked. It does not unlock at the main menu, but rather after immediately after clicking "Play". Without data on number of owners, installs, and starts, it's not possible to give an exact answer. However, given how new the game is, it seems likely that a decent percentage of players would be installing or waiting to play it, and given the fact that user interaction is required to get the achievement, it is probably safe to assume percentages are based on number of players that have actually started up the game.

enter image description here

Previous example, which has more data to work with

Take a look at the game Chime, specifically the achievement Fairy Godmother. It is awarded for starting up the game. No user interaction required. This achievement has a 98% global unlock.

Using data from this article, Chime had roughly 106,325 players as of July 1, 2018. This means either at least 2126 players had that achievement bugged, or Steam does not limit it to only players that have started the game.

While I've not done an exhaustive search, I attempted to find complaints for that achievement not triggering. I was unable to find anything, and I'd think at least one of those 2k+ people would have mentioned it.

  • 11
    Another explanation for this could be that the achievement was added 'at some point' after the game was released, as per this comment in the article referenced in the answer - The figures show "total number of Steam users who have played the game at least once after achievements were added to the game."
    – EdHunter
    Commented Dec 30, 2020 at 10:53
  • 5
    And the third (likely) explanation would be - some of those 2% might be people just "idling" trading cards (if the game has any ofc) via something like ArchiSteamFarm, which doesn't require to launch an actual game (thus triggering the achievement), yet makes Steam think that the game is launched (to count playtime), making it eligible for the stats.
    – Dan M.
    Commented Dec 30, 2020 at 11:58
  • 27
    For Steam, 98% of owners actually playing the game seems unusually high. Is it possible that 2% of players crashed at the loading screen? Commented Dec 30, 2020 at 14:11
  • 8
    Steam knows when a player launches a game through Steam, but it can't know if the game started successfully. A 2% quota of people who tried to launch the game but it wouldn't start / crashed before triggering the achievement seems plausible to me.
    – Philipp
    Commented Dec 30, 2020 at 15:15
  • 5
    @Manuki Walking Simulator's achievements were not available at the release of the game (see this post)
    – Batophobia
    Commented Dec 30, 2020 at 21:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .