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Why you just can't beat free: How Among Us was able to spread so fast

(Image Credit: Innersloth)
(Image Credit: Innersloth)
Modified 14 Nov 2020, 01:24 IST

One critical reason why Among Us was able to spread to so many players is that it has a very affordable price of $0.00.

It’s hard to overstate just how important being freely accessible can help a game spread from player to player. With the main barrier of entry removed for Among Us, players were able to jump into the game on a whim and try it out with friends.

How much money is Among Us worth?

How much would an individual be willing to pay for Among Us? It’s a simple question that is very difficult to answer, and answering it incorrectly can have dire consequences for the lifespan of a game.

When it comes to the actual business of games, many companies attempt to sell their game at a price point that earns them the most revenue. As the price goes up, each individual sale generates more revenue at the cost of alienating more potential customers. Lowering the price can increase the number of customers willing to buy it at the cost of lowering the amount of revenue from each sale.

Anyone who has taken an economics 101 class will recognize this relationship as one of the core principles of commerce, the relationship between supply and demand. But what happens when supply is infinite?

Infinite supply means 100% of demand can always be met

While nothing is truly infinite, digital gaming doesn’t have any real limiting factors. So long as a potential player has the necessary equipment and desire to play a game, and if that game can be replicated digitally, then the only further barrier to entry is the sale price.


For Among Us, the equipment barrier is low, with players able to play on most android or iOS devices, and the price barrier is nonexistent. In this way, every single person who has the necessary equipment and desire to play is able to do so.

For the same reason that customers do not generally pay for the privilege to breathe, Among Us players do not need to pay for the privilege to replicate the game on their own devices. And yet the game still does make money.

If Among Us is free, how does it make money?

Though not a new prospect, Among Us makes its money by selling in game content to players at a price. Any players who want to pay for the privilege of having special outfits, hats, or pets can do so. However, what is striking is that these skins and hats are not terribly expensive.

On Steam, buying every single skin, hat, pet, and the game itself (note: Among Us is only free on iOS or Android markets) will total just $23.92. By comparison, Fortnite, another technically free game, will sell users a single skin bundle for around $20.00.

It’s fair to state that Fortnite costs significantly more to operate, develop, and maintain than Among Us does, but from a consumer’s perspective, does it really matter?

Spending money on Among Us supports an independent development studio in the midst of a life changing period of their lives, while buying a skin in Fortnite will end up in the pocket of one of the few billionaire game developers.

Published 14 Nov 2020, 01:24 IST
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