Gamers who spend any time on Twitch or Reddit will doubtless have seen some gameplay of Among Us, or at least encountered the memes spreading throughout various subreddits. It’s one of the biggest, and certainly most recent examples of a game being able to thrive due to word of mouth and going viral on the internet rather than through a big marketing budget.
For those who are out of the loop, or who are wondering where a bunch of memes involving spacemen and “(insert X colour) is sus” are coming from, Among Us is a a multiplayer survival game that has recently exploded in popularity. Up to 10 players are attempting to carry out tasks across the map, whilst one of the players is secretly an imposter who is trying to kill the other crewmates without being detected. The imposter has some tools to remain hidden, and the crewmates also have some abilities in order to help find the imposter. Players can vote on who they think is the hidden threat and eject them from the map, but various claims and counterclaims can draw suspicion on innocent crew members, adding a deception aspect to the title. It’s a similar format to games involving an informed minority, such as One Night, Werewolf, Mafia or Town of Salem.
The most notable part of the games’ success is how recently it has seen a boost in sales, despite the fact it was released in 2018. The developers have announced that a planned sequel was cancelled in order to fix existing issues and expand the current game. According to the below Twitchtracker chart, the game went from having an average of 171 concurrent viewers on Twitch, up to 5.6k in July, and reaching over 200k in September. A number of big named streamers have been seen playing the game, and the nature of the title allows for collaborations and party games between the streaming service’s big hitters.
Twitch viewership does not necessarily translate into purchases, but in Among Us’ case, it seems to have worked. The game sits at the top of the Steam Top Sellers page, and by looking at Steamcharts, we see a similar uptrend in sales as we do with Twitch viewership, in part due to the game’s low pricetag and system requirements.
It’s not only great to see an indie game have sudden success, but also that it came as a result of gamers spreading the word to other gamers. Under the right circumstances, platforms such as Twitch or Youtube can generate the right buzz to make a success of titles that would otherwise be forgotten or overlooked.