How Amazon Twitch turned an obscure sport referred to as Amongst Us right into a pandemic mega-hit


Below us is a multiplayer PC and mobile game that suddenly grew in popularity and has become one of the most popular video games of 2020.

Although it was released in June 2018, Among Us was only recently a hit when video game streamers on Amazon's Twitch service realized it was the perfect game for pandemic quarantines and started streaming their competitions.

Developed by InnerSloth, a small studio in Redmond, Washington, Among Us was downloaded nearly 42 million times on Steam during the first half of September, and nearly 84 million times on iOS and Android this month, according to according to SensorTower. According to SensorTower, the game hasn't left the top 5 in Apple's US App Store since September 1, and it has seen more than 158 million installs in the App Store and Google Play worldwide.

It's easy to play, fun, and inexpensive. It has proven to be one of the best pastimes for virtual socializing amid a pandemic.

What is below us

Below us is a modern take on classic social deduction games like Mafia and Werewolf.

Using a PC or mobile device, users play as crew members and must accurately identify the cheaters among them or perform their duties in order to win. The crooks, meanwhile, achieve victory by killing their crew members or sabotaging the spaceship. The game randomly picks the cheaters at the start of each game.

Below us is a multiplayer PC and mobile game that suddenly grew in popularity and has become one of the most popular video games of 2020.

Salvador Rodriguez / CNBC

The two-dimensional cartoon game is played on one of three futuristic maps: a spaceship, a space station or a planetary base. The small, two-legged crew members run from room to room, doing simple tasks like solving puzzles and swiping their ID cards. Meanwhile, they must keep an eye out for their peers who are suspicious or "sus" and report any bodies they come across.

Once a corpse has been reported or an emergency meeting called, players will discuss what they saw as they go about their jobs in an attempt to take out the scammers. These discussions take place in the game's in-app chat feature or on a free video calling app like Discord.

Users can participate in public games online or create their own private games. Each game has a unique code that users can give their friends so that they can join. Games can have up to four players or up to 10 players.

PC gamers can download the game for $ 4.99 on Steam, a popular Valve game app store. The game is also available for free with ads on iOS and Android devices. Users can pay $ 1.99 to turn off ads. Users can also pay for cosmetic items like pets to customize the look of their crew members.

Why is it so popular?

The game was originally only available for phones and wasn't released through Steam until months later. Although InnerSloth had a small fan base, it continued to update the game with new features based on player feedback and slowly but surely made it better.

A few months after Covid-19 quarantined people around the world, Among Us caught the attention of popular video game streamers on Twitch, Amazon's market-leading video game streaming service.

With its virtual gameplay and reliance on social interaction, Among Us was perfect for virtual socializing – like a board game you play online. In July, Twitch streamers began playing the game with their peers, broadcasting their gameplay, and introducing Among Us to their numerous followers.

"The game had built a small but loyal following for over two years before falling into the spotlight thanks to Twitch streamers," said Randy Nelson, director of Mobile Insights at SensorTower. "The current success can be seen more on this platform than on traditional social media, which is where most of the viral app hits find their launchpads."

The game's acceptance increased from then on due to the game's low cost and simplicity of gameplay. Although users must perform tasks, those actions are easy to perform and perform for anyone who knows how to use a touch screen or operate a mouse and keyboard.

As the game becomes more popular, so do the memes, creating a flywheel effect that attracts more users and keeps them coming back time and time again. As with any viral hit, the next challenge for AmongUs is to maintain and grow the success.

The InnerSloth studio has already shown a commitment to the game. In August, the studio announced plans to develop a sequel to the game, but those plans were quickly canceled a month later.

As Among Us grew in popularity, InnerSloth canceled plans for the sequel to keep focus on the original and continue to support it. For example, the company adds an additional card.

"We have many other things planned, we just need to prioritize and organize all of our plans," InnerSloth said in a blog post in September. "Stay tuned!"


Katherine Clark