The COVID-19 virus has been devastating the world for the last few weeks. Hundreds of thousands of people have been infected by the virus with total deaths now hitting tens of thousands.
As the virus made its way into many countries, governments have been instituting strict lockdown measures, some of which have instructed people to stay indoors for the foreseeable future. The disruptions of these lockdowns have been clearly documented.
For instance, capital markets in major economies have taken a hit with global economic growth expected to slow down this year. But perhaps there’s a silver lining in all this and PC gaming platform Steam can attest to this.
The online gaming platform announced that it has smashed its all-time record in the number of concurrent users on the platform. The milestone was achieved over the weekend as the COVID-19 lockdowns were announced in many countries.
Data released by the company notes that peak numbers during this weekend hit over 20 million users. This is the first time Steam has seen over 20 million users all at once coming to its platform. The previous record stood at a little above 19 million.
But the number isn’t really the most interesting stat here, although reaching 20 million users is a big plus for Steam. What makes it such a huge milestone is the pace in which it was achieved. The PC gaming platform was able to reach these record numbers in little over 24 hours.
Traditionally, Steam sees a spike in the number of users when there’s a new release to offer to its clients. But this weekend was entirely different. There were no new releases so it’s safe to assume that other factors could have driven this surge in users. COVID-19 is the most reasonable explanation here.
As states discourage people from going out as part of containment measures for this highly contagious virus, suddenly most people find themselves with a lot of free time at home. Turning on the PC and playing games seems like a great way to kill the hours, and the gaming platform has plenty of games to offer.
This could be a very good year for the company even though the circumstances that we all find ourselves in aren’t that good. It’s estimated that the current lockdowns may extend further than expected. We are talking about months in which people are expected to “socially distance” themselves, which may rapidly increase the number of users going to Steam and playing games.
The company also noted that while users have been playing a variety of games, so far Counter-Strike: Global Offensive seems to be the most popular choice. The game has attracted well over 1 million simultaneous players, the highest for any game available on the platform.
The hope for Steam is to maintain these numbers even after the COVID-19 virus passes. So far, there’s enough time for people to play and get hooked to these games.