Valve’s popular online store, Steam, has seen a surge in concurrent online players recently. We are all likely aware that this is due to the increase in people who are staying at home in self-isolation, looking for something to do during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Steam concurrent user record was previously set at 18.8 million users back on Feb 2nd, just before the Superbowl. Yesterday, Sunday 22nd March, the highest recorded Steam user count increased to 22,678,529 users. That’s a 20% increase in a month.
Of course we can account this to many people being stuck at home and looking for safe ways to entertain themselves during the Covid-19 crisis. People of course can and will turn to videogames online; to purchase/play more video games during this difficult time.
Most developers are able to still work from home, and hopefully still able to push updates and continue working towards new game releases. And so it is possible that this concurrent user number could continue to increase as more states/countries impose stricter rules on staying at home.
DOOM Eternal had 100,000 peak concurrent players on Steam on release day, more than double the amount of DOOM (2016)’s release date, which was around 44K players. Call of Duty: Warzone saw 30 million players sign up, and whilst that isn’t the number of concurrent online players, it is still a lot of gamers.
With this increased online entertainment activity, we havent yet noticed any significant drop in broadband speeds yet here in the UK. How does the rest of the world look? We did spot that Call of Duty: Warzone experienced some server queuing problems recently, thanks to an overload of battle.net users. And perhaps the increase in digital TV streaming could have a knock on effect to bandwidth stability (I wonder what the new Netflix signups look like at the moment).
Also, what do we think, is this the peak gamer figure at 22.5 million concurrent users on Steam or do we think this figure could go higher over the coming weeks? Especially as the number of online players increase.
Another thought would be for hardware shortage concerns as several factories responsible for the production of PC hardware components have reportedly closed down temporarily. With more people staying at home to play video games, it would seem logical that there would also be a spike in hardware purchased online. So we may see a shortage of PC components as many decide to upgrade at this time. Although Intel have come out and said there will not be any shortage in chips.
For many isolation is a big adjustment in day to day life, however, a lot of gamers are fairly familiar with entertaining ourselves in solo or social online gameplay....often comfortably for hours at a time. And so, while some aspects of isolation might not come as quite the same shock to us, as it will for none gamers, it is still important to be aware of your own mental health and well-being. So please do remember to take a moment to step away from our PCs.