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Just under 150K players flooded back to Stardew Valley for the 1.6 update, and hopefully, only a small number drank the mayo

 Player walking around the docks at night.
Player walking around the docks at night.

Stardew Valley's 1.6 update is now live, releasing yesterday after Eric "ConcernedApe" Barone had enough time to wake up and make a cup of coffee—very funny, Barone. After waiting beside my PC all day for any signs of life, I immediately updated and jumped into 1.6 to start a brand new farm (and try to romance Sebastian all over again), and it looks like I wasn't the only one.

Stardew Valley broke a new record yesterday as it beat its own player count on Steam, reaching a whopping 146,159, meaning it's currently the seventh most-played game wedged between Helldivers 2 and GTA 5. Previously, the record for player count in Stardew Valley was 94,879 back in January 2021, around the same time that patch 1.5.4 was released.

This is not bad going for a game that's over eight years old, but then 1.6 really is an enormous (and free) set of additions. There's drinkable mayonnaise, cats with hats, and an entirely new farm type, the Meadowlands (which is absolutely massive, and comes complete with chickens). 1.6 also introduced some great updates to multiplayer games: you can have up to eight friends play with you on PC, and the connection will hopefully be smoother now that players use Steam multiplayer authentication.

If all the updates in 1.6 aren't enough to encourage you to give it a go for yourself or if, like me, your friends just need a little bit more persuasion, then another excellent selling point to bring up in your pitch is the fact that Stardew Valley is on sale right now—at 20% off, so $11.99/£8.79. Granted, it's not a massive reduction, but I still think it's pretty cool that you can buy it discounted right after so much has been added.

1.6 could have easily been hidden behind a paywall, and another developer may well have made the decision to do so, but Barone has released a massive update to an already beloved game at no extra cost, and it's paid off with droves of players returning to Pelican Town. So, with everything on offer, now's a fantastic time to start a new farm, wrangle together some friends, or just carry on with whatever project you have waiting for you in your save file.