Among Us was the hottest game of 2020. What is the key behind?

In 2020, the most successful games tended to come from big publishers with huge budgets, well-executed marketing, and large teams. Meanwhile, Among Us emerged as a miracle game developed by just three people on a limited budget, yet it unexpectedly climbed to fourth place on Steam. So what factors contributed to this amazing feat?

Among Us: the spectacular comeback of a “dead game”

Before achieving its current success, Among Us struggled to attract players, with fewer than 50 players in the first six months after release and consistently fewer than 1,000 players for 17 months. Furthermore, the requirement of 10 players to play a full game was a barrier that made it difficult to access for new players. These issues persisted for two years, leading to Among Us being considered a “dead game.”

Back in June, only 14 channels on Twitch were exclusively dedicated to livestreaming this game, with an average viewership of 174. However, by August, there were up to 500 channels livestreaming Among Us each day on Twitch, and by mid-September, this number had surpassed 1,000 individual channels (according to TwitchTracker). With nearly 31 million hours watched in August, the game became a “giant” in the rapidly growing game livestreaming era. Currently, the number of players at the same time has reached 300,000.

Source: TwitchTracker

Game Livestream: The Key to Among Us’ Success

Although Among Us had already gained popularity in Brazil, Mexico, and South Korea, it truly exploded in popularity when big streamers like Sodapoppin and xQc started playing it. As a result, other streamers took notice and began livestreaming the game themselves. This led to an increase in awareness of the game not only within the streaming community but also among viewers, who began to spread the word about Among Us.

Among Us

Among Us also started to become popular in Vietnam thanks to game streamers

The game’s “streamability” – or the ability to be livestreamed – is the most important factor in its widespread popularity. With gameplay similar to traditional party games like Mafia, Among Us creates a mechanism for constant and frequent interaction among all players. The viewership numbers also demonstrate significant growth as audiences, even if they are not players themselves, enjoy watching and deducing who the impostor is. As a result, downtime and awkwardness during livestreams are significantly reduced without requiring too much effort from the streamers. Additionally, the requirement for 4-10 people to play at the same time unintentionally increases the chances of Among Us appearing on multiple livestream channels during the same period of time, leading to a viral effect and increasing the game’s popularity.

However, currently, most streamers and players use Discord as a substitute for text chat and to make the game more friendly for streaming platforms. In the future, this feature may be developed by Among Us to make the gameplay more convenient.

Content: Always the Most Effective Tool to Keep the Flame Burning

When talking about Among Us, one cannot ignore the huge amount of content created around the game. This content is posted on various platforms such as Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and more. Just by searching for keywords, thousands of contents from gameplay guides, playing tips, fanart, comics, memes, and entertainment videos will be displayed.

With simple yet adorable graphics that are easy to draw, a multitude of fanart and comics were quickly uploaded and reached a huge audience. In addition, features such as the ability to change usernames, customize appearance, and even the chat frame became tools that allowed numerous humorous and engaging videos to be created without requiring too much effort. Moreover, the game’s light and simple configuration enables users with cheap smartphones to play, creating opportunities for the content creation community around Among Us to grow rapidly. In the era of short videos, this has clearly become an undeniable strength that needs to be fully utilized so that Among Us can be more than just a short-term success.

Like any modern game, success on livestreaming platforms clearly plays a crucial role in enhancing its reach. However, if the game can establish a place in the content creation industry, it will have the potential to succeed and achieve greater long-term results.