The near-ubiquity of Steam as a distribution platform can certainly drive players to your game. A little less than a week after RIFT launched on Steam, Trion Worlds is reporting that RIFT and Defiance have seen a combined influx of 250,000 new players, beating out the numbers reported both for the launch of Storm Legion and RIFT's free-to-play conversion. It's the largest influx of players the game has ever seen since its original launch, for that matter: Trion says it made for the "highest single day gain in new users" since the game first opened its doors.
What does that mean for the long run? That's the eternal question. RIFT launched its most recent major patch yesterday, but whether or not it will encourage players new to the game to subscribe or buy things in the cash shop is up for debate. Regardless, it's a good sign of health for the game as a whole, so congratulations are in order to the RIFT team on the number bump.