Among Us will almost certainly become a case study for future games companies to look into. The game best exemplifies the difference between almost total obscurity and near total cultural saturation, and how it can really just be that one big break that makes a difference. The game’s peak player count on Steam is now at 438,524 concurrent players, the 7th highest count for any game on Steam.
Among Us: Player count and delayed success
Since its release, Among Us had a player count so low that to call it “modest” would be modest. Often peaking at just a few dozen players around the world, Among Us seemed like it would be one of those indie gems lost under the tide of new releases.
Of course, I can only talk about Among Us in such tones because the game defied all expectations when it was picked up by streamers and spread through internet chains in a feat of modern word-of-mouth marketing which proved that Among Us was a great game that few people heard of, and not merely a game which seemed to have missed the mark.
As sales and player counts climbed, the game became an overnight sensation, amassing players more rapidly than its servers could handle. However, in the middle of all of this it can be easy to forget that Steam isn’t the only place to get Among Us, and certainly not the only place to play it.
According to Innersloth, Among Us reached an incredible 3 million players over a single weekend. It is difficult to state just how deserved this success is for them, and they should be proud that this game managed to reach the audience it deserved.
Among Us raises some serious questions about the modern games industry
While we should all celebrate the success of Among Us, there is a darker side to all of this. Among Us has shown that it had the potential all along to reach millions of players all over the world, so why did it take two years to do so?
According to the developers themselves, Among Us had an average daily player count of 8.2 players for its first 6 months. Clearly, the quality of the game had nothing to do with its success, and we can hardly expect every development studio to have to wait two years before their great products get discovered.
For the two years that Among Us existed without a community to play it, gamers everywhere were worse off. Had the game been discovered in 2018, Innersloth could already be well under way with new features and content which could have heralded a new wave in gaming.
But, as we know, that never happened. We should all keep this in mind, so that we are not quick to assume that because something sells well that it is good, or that because something is good that it will be successful. There are almost certainly hundreds of hidden and forgotten gems, each every bit as brilliant as Among Us, lost under the tide like so many grains of sand.