The Blog

Why is Among Us so popular in 2020?

by Aaron Miller

A video game that had nearly no players or viewers at the beginning of the summer just surpassed some of the most popular games ever created in a matter of months.

Among Us, an online multiplayer mystery and suspense game is shattering records for concurrent players and views on live streaming and other video platforms since getting its big break in August 2020. 

The game, which was released in 2018 by Innersloth, an indie developer consisting of three employees, topped four billion views on YouTube in September, according to YouTube’s Culture & Trends discover and data page—statistics that AAA games with thousands of developers sometimes fail to record. 

Twitch, the most popular platform for video game, esports, and other live streaming content, also saw Among Us racking in industry shattering numbers. In September, the game ranked third for hours watched and recorded 146 million hours watched, beating out powerhouse games such as League of Legends, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Warzone, and Fortnite. according to TwitchTracker.

Because of the influence gaming entertainers have over consumers, Among Us brought in 788.86 percent more average daily players in August (18,719) than in July (1,489) on the Steam version of the game alone, according to Steam Charts

Innersloth can thank popular South Korean and Brazilian entertainers for beginning the wave of success Among Us has captured, and American Twitch streamer “SodaPoppin,” who first played the game in July in front of nearly 25,000 people, according to Twitch Tracker

What makes the game so interesting to a wide demographic of players—which includes individuals ranging from as young as four-years-old to 100—is its depth of play that rivals popular board and card games such as Clue, Mafia, and Secret Hitler. All of these games have one thing in common—deception.

At its core, Among Us, is an online multiplayer mystery game that places 4-10 players on a spaceship, where the majority, dubbed “crewmates” are assigned with completing tasks, while the randomly chosen “imposters” have to sabotage or kill everyone before the tasks are finished. To make things more interesting, game chat is disabled during each round and is only reenabled when players reconvene to discuss who they believe the imposter is. If there is solid enough evidence (or not) players can vote an individual out. If all of the imposters are voted out the crewmates immediately win the game.

Whichever party succeeds with their mission wins the game and has their player icons and names prominently displayed on screen.

With the unforeseen circumstances the COVID-19 pandemic has brought upon most of the world’s population, individuals are seeking new ways to interact with their friends online. Among Us provides players with a way to chat, have fun, and occasionally lie to their friends. 

Allowing for an even higher ease of use for players, the game has cross-play ability between Windows PC, using the Steam game client, and iPhones, iPads, and iPods running iOS and phones and tablets running Android. The game is free-to-play on mobile devices, and is $5 on PC, with both platforms sponsoring in-game cosmetic items for about $3 each. 

Apart from its record breaking viewership and players, the game has quickly become a popular culture phenomenon. U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently livestreamed the game to nearly 425,000 people and played with some of the gaming industry’s top talent to raise awareness for voting in the November general election.

Among Us memes and gifs have been created to go along with every popular cultural moment, such as the first 2020 Presidential Debate where young people shared a meme saying “orange is sus,” which translates to U.S. President Donald Trump being suspected of wrongdoing. 

Despite the game’s sudden and exponential growth, there is speculation that the wave will eventually crash. Competitive tournaments and competitions typically are what keeps a game relevant more than a couple of months and esports organizations have not had much success on that front. 

FaZe Clan, which is valued at $240 million by Forbes, hosted a $25,000 Among Us tournament recently. While the official livestream and individual streams by the competitors saw huge success, the structure and competitive landscape did not hold up well. Like other party and communication focused games, Among Us at its core is not intended to be a competitive game. 
However, as long as viewers and players are interested in Among Us, the amount of content and hours played will continue to grow and cement itself as one of the most played and watched games of 2020.

Riot hosts first official VALORANT tournament

Riot Games will host the North American qualifiers of its first major VALORANT tournament beginning Oct. 26, the developer behind the game said in a statement released on its website

Nerd Street Gamers will partner with Riot to produce the tournament—titled First Strike—and will be the game’s first officially sanctioned tournament since its release in June. Riot, which is also the developer behind the wildly successful League of Legends, has extensive experience hosting large scale tournaments, such as League of Legends Worlds. 

“First Strike is the first major chapter in VALORANT esports, and we’re proud to have the support of two stellar partners to bring it to life—Nerd Street Gamers, which has already partnered with FaZe Clan and T1 to power their Ignition Series tournaments, and Engine Media/UMG, one of the most storied names in both elite and amateur competitive organizing,” Riot said in the statement. 

The first round of competition will begin on Oct. 26 with an open invitation to 128 teams, where each team will have a chance to qualify for the eight team main event in early December.

Out of the 128 teams in the first round, 16 will advance to the NSG qualifying tournament, where the top four will advance directly to the main event. The remaining 12 teams will have a second opportunity to qualify for another four spots in the main event the following week in a second qualifier.

In total, the main event will consist of eight teams competing for a $100,000 prize pool. 

Riot requires all competitors to be at least 16 years of age, have an in-game rank of at least Immortal, and each team must have three of its five players living in the same region, the developer tweeted.

Since this event is an open competition, teams of any experience level could join, as long as they fit all of the requirements. Technically speaking, this means collegiate programs could sponsor teams for this major tournament. 

Famous esports organizations, such as 100 Thieves, T1, and FaZe, have already expressed interest, with plenty of other top competitors expected to show interest in the coming days. However, an official list of competing teams has not been released yet. 

Riot will be streaming the open qualifier on its official Twitch account Monday, Oct. 26 to Friday, Oct. 30.

By Aaron J. Miller

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