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The top 10 PC fighting games at the start of 2023

Posted by Dakota 'DarkHorse' Hills • January 30, 2023 at 8:15 p.m. PST • Comments: 15

The PC platform has been the fastest growing base for fighting game players for a few years now at least, and it's become the go-to place for many competitive scenes to set up shop.

With the somewhat transitory phase the FGC finds itself in at the moment, we've decided to take a look at the top 10 active fighting games currently available on Steam at the start of 2023.

Our rankings this time around will only be based on the average concurrent player count for games based on Steam Charts' data from the past month, which obviously isn't a perfect metric, but it's basically the best we can do with what's publicly available.

That means titles with cross-platform play included may well have more players to pick from like Street Fighter 5, MultiVersus and now Guilty Gear Strive, but that won't impact their placement to keep things focused on PC.

So let's just dive right in to the top fighters seeing the most play through the first month of 2023.

10 – Mortal Kombat X

Fighting games on average seem to be seeing a bit less action at the moment, which has Mortal Kombat X taking the number 10 spot over much more recent releases like DNF Duel and JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R — and only with around 361 players on at any given time.

Although it's the oldest game to make the list, MKX's wealth of single-player content and well-liked gameplay left it a notable community still coming back after nearly 8 years.

9 — Rivals of Aether

We're also including the likes of platform fighters in these rankings, so there's another older title cracking the top 10 here in Rivals of Aether and its average of 398 for January.

Rivals has enjoyed a long tail of support from its dedicated modding community and development team although hasn't taken off as much as the other big platform fighters on PC since it's not free to play.

The promise of Rivals of Aether 2 on the horizon is likely helping people stick around too.

8 — The King of Fighters 15

If you'd asked us a year ago, we'd have guessed KOF15 to likely be in the top 5 of current PC fighters, but online matchmaking issues have marred the game's reception as well as other problems found with the Steam version.

With just around 612 players being on at any given time, KOF's numbers actually increased a decent bit thanks to the release of the Season 2 update though not nearly enough to push it further up the list.

Hopefully, SNK's upcoming crossplay update for KOF15 will finally ax the rest of the game's online issues and bring more people back to the game.

7 — MultiVersus

MultiVersus being this low is somewhat of a shocker considering it had more players than basically every other fighter combined on PC when it first dropped about 6 or 7 months ago.

A lack of content, delayed updates and more problems brought on by its Early Access release now see MVS with only 957 players online on average, but its crossplay definitely helps keep wait times down to among the shortest in the genre.

Once the devs get closer to the "full" release of MultiVersus, we should start to see those numbers start to pick up quite a bit again.

6 — Dragon Ball FighterZ

Dragon Ball FighterZ is currently the most played fighting game that still uses delay-based netcode (depending on how much you trust Katsuhiro Harada) with its decent January average of 1,206 players on Steam.

The general popularity of the Dragon Ball brand has certainly helped DBFZ stay lively even without any new content in almost a year now.

Like MultiVersus, we'll probably be seeing FighterZ's numbers quickly rise again once the rollback netcode update finally hits the game this year.

5 — Mortal Kombat 11

Despite Warner Bros. not so great history with their PC fighting game ports, Mortal Kombat 11 has found a large amount of success on Steam

There's still thousands of players hopping onto the game to grind out Towers and online matches along with a huge gap over MKX because it's the newest NRS game out there.

How MK11's playerbase will look in the coming months remains to be seen, but averaging 1,754 users keeps it in the upper echelon for now.

4 — Street Fighter 5

Although Street Fighter 5 was one of the first fighters to include crossplay as an option, most of the continued playerbase has migrated over to the PC version in recent years if they could at all manage it.

That's kept SF5 floating around the top 5 even without any new DLC characters in over a year, and the excitement of Street Fighter 6 on the horizon has likely helped the current game lately.

SF5 just barely managed to beat out MK11 with a 30-day average of 1,791 users.

3 — Guilty Gear Strive

Guilty Gear's numbers have dropped slightly since the boost it received for last months crossplay update, but the game is still trucking along well enough to be number 3 on the PC platform.

It'll be very interesting to see how much momentum Strive can keep up with Street Fighter 6 and other titles like Granblue Fantasy: Versus Rising on the horizon although things will probably be fine in the long run.

For now, it seems the beautiful visuals, buttery smooth online play and slowly growing roster is enough to keep people entertained with an average of 2,379 users.

2 — Tekken 7

Tekken 7's community deserves some big kudos for keeping multiple thousands of players around on just PC after 5 and a half years and no new characters since March 2021.

You could probably joke that it's taken people this long to learn how to play Tekken, but clearly Bandai Namco did more than enough right to make users want to keep pressing rematch despite detractors like the spotty online play.

Tekken's average of 4,188 players is almost more than Guilty Gear and Street Fighter's numbers combined on PC, so we're very interested to see what that means for Tekken 8 on the platform when it releases hopefully later this year.

1 — Brawlhalla

Although MultiVersus stole away its crown for a time, Brawlhalla has reclaimed the throne of being the most popular fighter on Steam with a whopping average of 10,975 looking for matches at any point of the day.

On top of a massive eSports circuit, Brawlhalla does amazingly well for itself with its wide availability as a free-to-play title with crossplay on pretty much anything that has a screen.

There were worries that MultiVersus positioning itself in almost the same way could divide the playerbase, but so far Brawlhalla seems to be holding on strong.

That does it for the top 10 most popular fighters currently on Steam as of the start of this year although the landscape is going to drastically shift in the coming months with more big releases and updates on the way.

Let us know in the comments if you were surprised by any inclusions or exclusions and what you think the fighting game scene on PC is going look like by the end of 2023.

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