Among Us, an indie game from 2018, is the most-watched game on Twitch right now. Often reaching upwards of 500k+ concurrent viewers, Among Us is more popular than Fortnite, Warzone, Fall Guys, and League of Legends.
To those previously unfamiliar with the game, it feels like Among Us climbed up the ladder of success overnight. In a way, it kind of did.
Up until May of this year, Among Us averaged just under 1,000 peak players per month. This number slowly began to increase, hitting almost 7,000 peak players in July.
Then, in August, something incredible happened. Something that few could have predicted. Among Us hit a whopping 70,000 peak players.
As of September, that number is still climbing, and it’s hard to not be curious as to why Among Us became a sensation now, nearly two years after its initial release.
The answer lies somewhere within the digital realms of YouTube, Twitch, and the success of another game series, Henry Stickmin.
How YT, Twitch, and Henry Stickmin Helped the 2018 Indie Game Among Us Go Viral
Among Us is quite the success story given its humble beginnings. Released in November of 2018, Among Us was developed by three people at indie studio innersloth.
Among the game’s three-person team is developer Marcus B. otherwise known as PuffballsUnited.
You may know PuffballsUnited as the creator of the Henry Stickmin Series on Newgrounds which has been played by popular YouTubers like Markiplier, CaptainSauce, DanTDM, and jacksepticeye.
In early August, PuffballsUnited released the revamped Henry Stickmin Collection on Steam. It was not only well-received in and of itself, it also helped contribute to the massive rise in popularity that Among Us received.
As previously mentioned, Among Us was able to reach over 70,000 peak players in August which comes in stark contrast to July's 6,771 peak players.
A second spike came in early September as the game gained even more traction on Twitch, receiving attention from popular streamers like xQcOW, CallMeCarsonLIVE, ludwig, Philza, Gaules, Trainwreckstv, AfroSenjuTV, and more.
Amoung Us currently sits at an all-time peak player count of 388,385 according to info from Steam Charts.
Everyone is hopping aboard the Among Us hype train.
As helpful as the connection to the Henry Stickmin Series and attention from popular YouTubers and Twitch streamers is, there are other reasons why Among Us is popular.
A number of hilarious memes have been making the rounds on social media, like the one that references the game's Emergency Meeting.
For those unfamiliar with Among Us, these memes can help spark the curiosity needed to look it up and give it a try.
What’s more, we know that social media success can have a huge impact on an indie game’s success as proven by the exceptional work that OliverAge24 did (and continues to do) for Fall Guys.
Whether you’re introduced to Among Us through YouTube, Twitch, or internet memes, it’s easy to purchase and play the game as it’s priced at a reasonable $4.99.
There’s less debate over whether or not to buy a game when that game is $5 rather than $20 or $30. You can run it on any computer, and the gameplay itself is both simple and incredibly addicting.
For those who have yet to play Among Us, the gist is that one person is assigned the role of Imposter while everyone else are members of the Crew.
Working together, the Crew will need to safely complete various tasks aboard the spaceship. In the background, the Imposter works to sabotage the Crew and pick them off one by one.
While this is happening, Crew members can call an Emergency Meeting and discuss matters like the body of a fellow Crew member they just found.
The Emergency Meeting ends with everyone voting for who they think the Imposter is.
As you'd expect, the person with the most votes gets ejected out of the spaceship and you get to find out whether that person was (or wasn’t) the Imposter.
If you’re unhappy with the end result of the match you just played, the good news is that most of the matches in Among Us are relatively short, allowing you to quickly jump into a new one and try again.
Among Us supports 4-10 players and offers both local and online co-op. Given that it can be hard to see friends due to COVID, being able to play online co-op is great.
Be warned that you may ruin a few of these friendships while playing as the Imposter, or by voting someone off who isn’t the Imposter. Kidding, maybe.
As with any game that rapidly gains popularity (Fall Guys is a great example), there are people who will speculate over when the hype will die off.
Among Us isn’t noteworthy just because it exploded in popularity two years after its release, it’s noteworthy because it truly is a great game.
It has more staying power thanks to the fact that it’s inexpensive and easy to play. The game also benefits from the fact that it doesn’t feel as heated or competitive as other multiplayer games.
You want to succeed each match, but at the same time, it’s not as disappointing when things don’t go according to plan in Among Us as compared to a Battle Royale game for example. At least, that’s how we felt.
It’s easy to write off a bad match, or series of bad matches, because you’re able to keep jumping back in and trying again, over and over and over.
Trying is fun in and of itself, and to be honest, we also like completing tasks when we’re members of the Crew. It’s satisfying.
We imagine the game will become even more popular once it’s ported outside of PC, Android, and iOS. For example, the game would do extremely well on Nintendo Switch, and could be an intriguing addition to Xbox Game Pass.
There’s no word as to whether this will happen or not, but we hope it does because at the end of the day, Among Us is a fantastic game. It deserves the opportunity to thrive on Switch, Xbox, and PlayStation as much as it has on PC.
If not Among Us, there's always the sequel that innersloth announced.
In conclusion, it might’ve taken two years for the game to be recognized as such, but now that it’s gaining popularity at an incredible rate, we can’t imagine it falling off anyone’s radar anytime soon. Certainly not ours.