Yesterday Steam once again smashed its own concurrent player record, recording 20 million players worldwide.
It was only last month that we reported Steam hit its highest ever concurrent users of 18,801,944, breaking the previous highest concurrent figure of 18,537,490 users set in January 2018.
“Steam has just reached a new concurrent online user record of 20 million, with 6.2 million currently in-game, likely due to many people staying at home due to the coronavirus,” said tracker site Steam Database (thanks, PCGN).
#Steam has just reached a new concurrent online user record of 20 million, with 6.2 million currently in-game, likely due to many people staying at home due to the #coronavirus.https://t.co/bzLMfMOJvD#COVID19
— Steam Database (@SteamDB) March 15, 2020
The most popular game at the time the record was broken was Counter-Strike Global Offensive – which has been setting concurrent records of its own lately – along with Dota 2 and Rainbow Six Siege.
It’s widely hypothesised that self-isolation and the growing COVID-19 pandemic is contributing to the high use. Less than a week ago, organisers of E3 – the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) – insisted it was continuing to “plan for a safe and successful” show later this year whilst “actively assessing” the coronavirus outbreak. Now E3 2020 has been cancelled, as has EGX Rezzed, and both Mojang and Electronic Arts have cancelled scheduled live events, and Bungie, EA, Nintendo and now Rockstar have all implemented homeworking to minimise staff exposure to the virus.
The Game Developers Conference (GDC) has also been indefinitely postponed, and while attendees can expect a refund in full and those who had made hotel reservations via the organisation will be able to cancel without penalty, developers who’ve arranged their own accommodation might still be open to cancellation fees. A number of publishers have teamed up to create GDC Relief Fund to assist indie devs who may have lost money on paying in advance for the now-cancelled GDC.
Kojima Productions, Sony, EA, and Facebook – which owns Oculus – first pulled out of GDC, as did Microsoft, Epic, and Unity. The city of San Francisco – the city that was set to host the upcoming GDC conference next month – had also declared a “local health emergency” over coronavirus. A state of emergency has also be declared in Los Angeles.
BAFTA has confirmed it’s revising the format on its upcoming Games Awards in light of the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), too. In a brief statement to press the organisers said the show would change from a “red carpet ceremony” to an online livestream broadcast on the same day as the original live show: Thursday, April 2nd, 2020.