Helldivers 2 servers are still hitting capacity as it enters Steam’s top 20 most-played games of all time list [UPDATED]

Helldivers 2
(Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Helldivers 2, Arrowhead Game Studios' new third-person PvE co-op shooter, has been an explosive success on PS5 and PC. 
  • The game broke a record for PlayStation Studios publishing by reaching 150,000 concurrent Steam players on its opening weekend, and has continued to grow since then.
  • Notably, Helldivers 2 has surpassed the all-time concurrent player records of several big games like Starfield, Destiny 2, and Halo Infinite, among others.
  • Now, this weekend, its fans are experiencing ongoing server capacity issues that are preventing many from playing the game. Thankfully, Arrowhead is aware of the problem and is working hard to fix it.
  • Update: Even after Helldivers 2's Tuesday patch, the game’s server capacity problem remains ongoing, though at least the update addressed a number of different issues like crashes and quickplay bugs and improved the game's backend server performance. Stuck waiting to play? Try using this method to skip the queue.

Update 2/21/24 at 5:10 p.m. PT / 8:10 p.m. ET: Sadly, capacity issues with Helldivers 2's servers are still happening every evening, but they've noticeably improved since Arrowhead deployed its latest patch to the game on Tuesday. First announced in Helldivers 2's Discord server, this update boosted backend server performance and also fixed a number of other bugs and issues such as quickplay problems and the infamous black screen glitch. You can read the full patch notes here.

Further improvements to "login, matchmaking, and server load" are planned to come "in the days and weeks to come," so hopefully, Helldivers 2's server capacity issue won't be one for much longer. And hey, you can always try to skip the queue using the friend joining trick, which works pretty reliably in my experience.

The game's concurrent player record on Steam has now rocketed up to 457,649, with 433,771 people in-game as I write this update. This further moves it up Steam's all-time most-played games chart, and makes it the 20th most-played game in Steam history above other titles like Among Us, GTA V, Monster Hunter: World, and Starfield.

To say that Arrowhead Game Studios' new third-person PvE co-op shooter Helldivers 2 has been doing numbers would be an understatement. Shortly after its launch on February 8, the game broke a record for PlayStation Studios publishing by reaching over 150,000 concurrent players on Steam, and this week, it routinely got close to or past the 200,000 mark in the evenings. Now, this weekend, it's reached a new peak of 333,827 players — a record that puts it higher on the Steam charts than games like Starfield (330,723) and Destiny 2 (316,750), as well as Halo Infinite (272,586).

The rapid, dramatic, and escalating success of Helldivers 2 (tracked with SteamDB) has been incredible to see, but unfortunately, it's led to a big issue with server capacity. Right now, many aspiring Super Earth space marines are being met with a "Servers at capacity. Please try again later" error at the game's title screen, and the only way to get around it is to wait patiently. Thankfully, Arrowhead is aware of the problem and is working hard to expand its servers.

"Despite our best efforts to increase server capacity to accommodate all of you who want to dive for Freedom, we are experiencing capacity issues," wrote the studio in an update on X (Twitter). "We are once more working without delay to improve the issue and we hope to have a fix in place as soon as possible."

A squad of Helldivers ready to fight. (Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

Helldivers 2 also ran into server trouble during its record-breaking launch weekend, though those bugs and launch issues were mostly stability-related. Luckily, the game was, afterwards, generally quite stable for most of this week aside from some glitches that caused players to not earn rewards from finished missions.

Notably, to compensate, Arrowhead has increased Helldivers 2's XP and Requisition rewards by 50% this weekend. Ironically, this — along with the natural growth that comes with a viral new game — is driving many to spread democracy across the galaxy right now, ultimately resulting in the ongoing capacity problems.

As I wait to get into the game myself, I'll be pouring myself something cold and raising that glass to Arrowhead's tireless work. CEO Johan Pilestedt said earlier this week that he's "completely exhausted by the success," and "so is the team," though they're obviously also very pleased by it. The developer was hopeful things would be smoother this weekend, but sadly, the suffering from success continues. 

"And now, standing on the threshold of the weekend, with fingers crossed staring intently at the CCU graph and the icons for the various subsystems glowing with a vibrant green 'OK,'" Pilestedt said on Thursday. "Last weekend, a lot of them were in bright red 'NOT OK.'"

Unfortunately, those crimson warnings are alight once more. Hopefully the studio will resolve the situation soon and its developers can get some hard-earned rest.

Helldivers 2 is available now for $39.99 on both PS5 and PC, and so far, it's one of the best PC games of the year. Notably, the game also supports cross-platform play between PS5 and PC. 

Helldivers 2 — $39.99 at GMG (Steam)

Helldivers 2 — $39.99 at GMG (Steam)

Battle aliens, robots, and other beasts in humanity's quest to spread democracy through an unforgiving galaxy. It's 4-player co-op at its absolute best, and its most refined.

Also at: Amazon (PS5, Physical) | Walmart (PS5, Physical)

Super Citizen Edition: Amazon (PC, Digital) | GMG (Steam, PC, Digital)

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.