What made 'Among Us' the most popular game in the world?
© inner sloth
So in case, you didn’t know Among Us is quite popular. Sorry I mean really, REALLY popular.
At the time of writing this article the game has seen 41.9 million downloads in September alone. In August it had seen 18.4 million downloads and if you consider that its total downloads by July 2020 were 2.4 million downloads, you’d be safe calling that “meteoric growth”. If you look at Twitch viewer stats for the game, just a few months ago in June, the game had around 14 channels dedicated to it and averaged around 174 viewers per month. Now the game averages 80,000 viewers and around 13 million hours of watched content. If you add to this the fact that the game is more than 2 years old, having originally released in 2018, one really starts to wonder how on Earth that happened.
Let’s start by explaining what exactly Among Us is all about. In a nutshell, Among Us is a multiplayer party game wherein 4-10 players take the roles of spaceship crew members tasked with preparing their spaceship for departure by completing several basic scientific tasks. However, among the innocent crew members are a few randomly assigned alien imposters whose goals are to kill and frame the crew members, sabotage the ship and most importantly do so without being caught. In that way, the game isn’t too new as a concept and is very similar to games such as Mafia, Werewolf and Project Winter.
So why the insane increase in popularity?
Well, most people are attributing the rise in popularity to the game being adopted by several huge Twitch and YouTube streamers picking up the game thereby raising awareness of its existence to their millions of fans. On top of this, the game allows for easy collaborations between these big streamers resulting in 10 big name streamers all bringing together their millions of fans to create a perfect storm of viewership growth.
What is it about the game itself that has made it so popular?
Cost – let’s be honest, the cost is always a big factor when it comes to games and the fact that the game is free on mobile (if you suffer through the adverts) and R40 or $5 on Steam, you certainly have a low bar to overcome in terms of getting players to try the game out.
Very basic requirements – the game hardly needs the latest and most powerful hardware to run – requiring 1 GB of RAM, 250mb of hard drive space and a PC powerful enough to handle Windows 7. For the full experience we recommend a microphone to enable voice chat, but other than that you don’t need much.
Crossplay – Fortnite was probably the first game to show the world how huge a game can get if not restricted to a single platform by allowing players on any platform to play with each other. Suddenly it didn’t matter if your friends were on mobile or console or PC, you could play with them all. Among Us also allows crossplay between PC and mobile (unfortunately not on console yet). This means you can connect with friends much more easily.
Don’t need to be a gamer – certainly, one of the most difficult things about certain games is the skill requirement. For new players, many games are too difficult or require fast reflexes or innate gaming skill to succeed. The concern about simplifying these games is that by doing so you often make them too easy for hardcore gamers – this is not the case with Among Us the game concept is simple, the user interface is very easy to understand and you don’t need to have any “gaming” skills to succeed at it.
Memes – It certainly helps if your game becomes “cool” enough for the memers to get hold of it and certainly Among Us has become a very popular material source for meme creators everywhere. You just need to spend 10 minutes on any social media platform to catch various memes centred around the themes of Among Us and these certainly go a long way to increasing the popularity of the game.
Games are different – because the gameplay is more focused on the players and their personality than on the game itself whenever you play with a different set of players, the game changes. Meaning that as long as you have new humans to play with, you have a brand new game and this helps keep the gameplay fresh, engaging and dynamic.
What more is there to say about the phenomenon that is Among Us? Will it continue to grow in popularity? At this stage, it certainly shows no signs of stopping. Will it continue to be the most popular game in the world? Probably not as gamers move on to the next “big thing”. But for now, I highly suggest grabbing a copy and diving into the action and hilarity as soon as possible.