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Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel is currently bigger than GTA 5 and Apex Legends on Steam

Number of concurrent players sees free-to-play card game rocket to third place in the rankings.

Image credit: Konami

New Yu-Gi-Oh! video game Master Duel, which saw a surprise release earlier this week, has seen its number of concurrent players on Steam overtake PC stalwarts Grand Theft Auto 5 and Apex Legends.

Master Duel hit PC alongside PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch yesterday and has quickly seen its number of simultaneous players rise to a current peak of 169,081, according to Steam’s own stats.

The impressive number was enough to rocket the digital card game temporarily into third place in the rankings, behind regular chart-toppers Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2, before settling into its current fourth place at the time of writing.

That still puts it ahead of the immensely successful GTA 5 - which includes multiplayer mode GTA Online - and free-to-play shooter Apex Legends, and just below battle royale favourite PUBG: Battlegrounds. Other notable games that Master Duel is currently ahead of include Monster Hunter Rise, Destiny 2 and the recent PC release of former PlayStation exclusive God of War - which set its own 24-record.

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Announced last summer, Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel adapts the long-running trading card game into a digital app, featuring its full OCG/TCG rules and more than 10,000 cards. The free-to-play game includes both a single-player campaign and the ability to duel fellow humans online, with cards obtained by playing matches, participating in events and spending real money via microtransactions. Player-made decks can be customised using a built-in database of deck lists, and there's a tutorial if you need to learn how to play Yu-Gi-Oh!

The game’s more than 2,400 Steam user reviews have so far given it a “Mostly Positive” reception, with praise directed at its presentation and faithful adaptation of the game’s ruleset. Criticism from players includes concerns around the lack of a turn timer - reportedly leading to long matches - and the in-game economy of its gems currency.

A mobile release of Master Duel is planned for the future, with Konami saying more details will arrive “soon”.

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