Why a Game That Launched Years Ago Just Became a No. 1 Trend
Throughout 2020 there have been numerous trends in the entertainment industry, particularly related to video games. In March, the tech giant Nintendo launched Animal Crossing: New Horizons for the Nintendo Switch, another addition to its cult-classic series Animal Crossing. It was the most talked-about game in the world for months following its release, until September, when conversations on social media shifted towards the game Among Us.
Among Us is an online multiplayer deduction game launched by the indie developer Innersloth in 2018. In the game, 4–10 spaceship crewmates are tasked with completing challenges to stabilize the ship. However, there is an Imposter in the crew, a person whose goal is to secretly kill the crewmates. The crewmates need to figure out who the Imposter is and vote them off before it’s too late.
From its collaboration based murder-mystery premise to its meme inspiring cartoon graphics, Among Us has been trending on social platforms like Twitter, Twitch, and TikTok for weeks. Just on TikTok, the videos posted under #amongus have a collective 39 billion views.
With influential figures picking up the game, ranging from the US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to internet celebrities like James Charles, it’s safe to say Among Us is the latest cultural phenomenon. Even Nintendo jumped on the Among Us bandwagon. The game is now available for purchase through the Switch, in addition to being free on mobile devices and less than $5 on PC.
However, a question about Among Us is rising almost as fast as its number of new players. The game leaped from less than 1,000 players in the first year of its launch to hitting over 3 million by early October of 2020.
Why did a game from two years ago suddenly become so popular?
Figuring out how Among Us rose to the top of the charts is far easier than figuring out who the Imposter is during a round of the game. In December, Among Us earned two awards that highlight why so many people love to play it: Best Mobile Game and Best Multiplayer Game of 2020.
Among Us became popular because it embodies the current demands and concerns of leisure activities. This year brought on new desires for minimal cost, easily accessible, and socially responsible forms of entertainment services. Among Us happened to hit all of these requirements, even before the game developers intended it. It makes sense that the game became popular, considering it’s a low-cost activity that lets anyone with a smartphone or computer connect with other people.
Its growth in 2020 is a direct reflection of what happens when creators make the conscious decision to adapt to people’s changing needs.
A far more complex sequel to Among Us was in the works, but InnerSloth stopped that project to rework the existing version of the game. In a blog post, the Among Us creators wrote,
“Seeing how many people are enjoying Among Us 1 really makes us want to be able to support the game and take it to the next level. We have decided to cancel Among Us 2 and instead put all our focus into improving Among Us 1. All of the content we had planned for Among Us 2 will instead go into Among Us 1.”
Even though the first version of Among Us was not originally created for the reasons people started to flock to it, the developers saw the opportunity to meet their growing community’s needs. They took the time to recognize that there was a gap in the market and listened to their audience’s feedback to create something that filled the space.
With new stages rolling out and accessibility extending to mainstream consoles like Xbox and the Switch, it will be interesting to watch how the game continues to grow with those who play it.