As quarantine plans unfold to control the COVID-19 pandemic, Twitch and Steam are experiencing massive user count surges thanks to those staying home.
The biggest preventative measure in use is social distancing, or minimizing contact with others unless absolutely necessary. This means many people are working from home or experiencing extended spring breaks from school. Thankfully, Twitch provides enough engaging content to fill the hours normally spent commuting or listening to dry cubicle banter.
According to Twitch Tracker and Reclaim The Net, the streaming platform averaged a live audience of 2.2 million people last week, up almost 100% from the 1.18 million average registered back in February and March of 2019. As standards to combat the spread of the Coronavirus become stricter in North America this week, it’s likely that these numbers will rise even higher.
Twitch isn’t the only beneficiary to the uptick in internet use. Roundhill Investments via Steam Database also reported that the Steam platform recently hit its new concurrent user record at 20 million, up 1 million users from last month’s record-setting figure. Of these 20 million users, 6.2 million were actively in game.
Overall, Reclaim the Net reports that internet traffic has increased the most in Italy, the United States, India, Japan, and Australia. In Italy, the European country hit hardest by the virus, internet usage has increased by a whopping 70%. It’s likely that these internet denizens are finding new homes in Twitch and Steam, and will continue to for weeks to come.
Maybe this very strange period of time will become known for the rise of esports viewership and interest in competitive gaming.