Posted by Kayla Kenney | Nov 12, 2020 | Gaming

In 2018, an indie-gaming company brought “Among US” to the gaming world. Now, amidst a global pandemic, the game has burst to the top of multiple gaming charts.

Multiplayer video game Among Us

With COVID-19 finding millions of people stuck at home, gaming culture rose in popularity. The highly-anticipated release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons happened just as quarantine became mandatory. Both gamers and non-gamers swarmed to the platform as a way to pass the time, spending hours upon hours building virtual islands and talking with anthropomorphic animals.

As the COVID-19 quarantine continues, there’s a new game that’s taken over the web. It’s called Among Us, and it’s a multiplayer social-deduction game (developed by indie-gaming company InnerSloth back in 2018) that’s taking the gaming world by storm. The user-friendly game allows adults, teens, and older children to jump right in and play. With well-known YouTubers, influencers, and streamers glomming onto the game, Among Us has quickly become one of the most popular games of 2020.


Among Us Steam Release Trailer from Innersloth on YouTube

Among Us is a multiplayer game where between four and 10 players are dropped onto an alien spaceship. Each player is designated a private role as either a crewmate or an impostor. Crewmates must run around the ship and complete a set of tasks while trying to root out and avoid getting killed by the impostor(s). Players can vote other players off the ship amid discussions and suspicions. Crewmates win by voting off the impostors or completing all of their tasks.

Among Us is a simple game for players of all ages to pick up. It is easy enough for both the not-so-screen-savvy adults and their children to learn and play together. However, in a review for Common Sense Media, Jeff Haynes cautions kids to be at least 10 years old to play Among Us due to the game’s themes of violence and deception.

Among Us is focused around the concept of deception, where users act as impostors scattered through a crew of explorers that attempt to kill or sabotage everyone’s efforts in order to succeed. On its surface, the game’s concept may sound negative, but the action is cartoonish and humorous in nature, and the game does foster a sense of teamwork and cooperation as players try to complete their tasks.

Jeff Haynes from Common Sense Media


Lifetime concurrent of Among Us players on Steam
Image credit to SteamDB

Among Us was initially supposed to be a mobile-only local multiplayer game with a single map. The game had no audio to avoid revealing hidden information in a local setting. Upon its 2018 release, Among Us received little fanfare, as many indie games do. According to a recent devlog from Innersloth, the game had an average player count of 30 to 50 players per hour back then.

“It didn’t release super well,” programmer and business lead Forest Willard told Kotaku over a Discord voice call. “But we got a bunch of feedback, by which I mean any feedback, which was pretty great considering [the circumstances].” With that, they added online multiplayer and did a Steam release by the end of 2018. They picked up enough traction to keep the game alive.

We stuck with Among Us a lot longer than we probably should have from a pure business standpoint. We tried to quit and should have quit several times.

Forest Willard from Innersloth in an article on Kotaku

In the recent months of 2020’s pandemic-ridden world, Among Us has risen to 70,000 to 110,000 players per hour. The game is currently at the top of the App Store and Google Play free games charts. According to The Verge, it passed 100 million downloads in Q3 2020. This massively surpassed the more than 68 million downloads for the next highest-downloaded game, My Talking Tom Friends.


Among Us streams spike on Twitch
Photo credit to TwitchTracker

The main reason Among Us became one of the most popular games of 2020 is its success on Twitch. With nearly 31 million hours watched throughout August, the game exploded on the streaming platform. This was mostly due to the game’s ability to bring together numerous streaming personalities at once—creating crossovers between streamers and communities on a scale that has never really been seen before.

It all started with Chance Morris, otherwise known as Sodapoppin, who was eager to keep viewers entertained during the quarantine. He began streaming “Among US” to his 2.9 million followers on Twitch in July. By mid-September, major YouTube stars, TikTok influencers, and streamers played it, including PewDiePie, James Charles, and Dr. Lupo.

Even members of the Democratic Party have hopped onto Twitch to play the game. U.S. Reps Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar recently played a few rounds with some popular streamers in an attempt to get the vote out to the younger demographic. The stream ended up breaking Twitch streaming records, with a peak of 435,000 viewers.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez streams Among Us on Twitch

Among Us has risen to a level of popularity that was not predicted by anyone. Looking back to June, Twitch only had 14 channels dedicated to streaming the game. Back then, an average of 174 viewers spent time watching the game every month. Now, the game leaves marks like those in the dust. Just this past week, an average of nearly 146,000 viewers tuned into “Among Us” streams on Twitch, amassing a total of over 24 million hours watched across the platform.

Like any game in the modern era, success on Twitch is a pivotal part of how the game is received in a greater sense. If the title has a place in the sphere of content creation, it’s more likely to get off the ground and achieve greater things in the long run. When it comes to Among Us, there’s boundless content to be created. The game has found a home on Twitch in the arms of some of the most popular streamers on the platform.

Michael Kelly on Dot Esports


Among Us Discord server
Photo credit to Discord

While millions have been watching YouTubers, influencers, and streamers play the game, they’ve also been playing it. Among Us has begun to serve as a more-or-less default social platform for people stuck in quarantine.

With children, teens, and adults staying at home during the current pandemic, Among Us is not only a cure for boredom but also a safe way to socialize and interact with other humans. It has an in-game chat function that allows for fun banter, clever deductions, and random conversations. The game also easily allows for private rooms with friends.

Among Us is very different than other highly social video games like Fortnite, for instance. It’s more similar to a board game like Monopoly, or a party game like Werewolf, where players need to read personalities and determine if they’re being lied to in order to win. The large group size makes it easy to invite new friends into the group.

Taylor Lorenz from The New York Times

Among Us Discord servers began popping up in early September. According to The New York Times, in one server, more than 98,000 teenagers connect, socialize, discuss, and play the game. A 13-year-old administrator of the server told the Times, “…it’s a way to pass the time when you don’t have anything else to do. Since we can’t really congregate in a public area like the park, Among Us allows us to be online social distancing.”

With social-distancing restrictions due to the pandemic and gaming influencers taking to the game, Among Us quickly became one of the most popular games of 2020. Anyone can go right in and have a good time with this simple, social-deduction game. It’s also easily accessible as a free mobile game and a five-dollar game on Steam.

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