It's rare for video games to have a resurgence in popularity, even in today's digital landscape. There are just so many new games being released week-to-week that older games almost never have the opportunity to recapture the attention of video game fans. Sometimes, however, a game breaks the norm. The online multiplayer survival game Rust is the latest example of that. According to Steam tracking information, Rust has reached a new peak concurrent player count.
The new record for Rust's concurrent total players on Steam is just under 204,000, an absolutely astonishing jump in players compared to any time previous in the game's lifespan. For example, Rust broke its concurrent player count multiple times recently, too, breaking 130,000 players three of the past four days. Today, however, the number skyrocketed, breaking its previous record by over 50%. It's a surprising accomplishment for a game that's been available to play since late 2013.
As for the reason why Rust is spiking in players right now, it comes down to streaming. Rust has already been experiencing a banner year due to many game players staying home from school or work due to the pandemic. Add onto that one of the biggest streaming groups online, OfflineTV, hosting a Rust server and inviting dozens of the platform's most popular streamers, and it's turned into a huge success for the game.
Why the game jumped today specifically is also simple. OfflineTV relaunched its previous server as a more PvP-focused option, while simultaneously launching a new server focused more on roleplay and controlled progression. The result was dozens of popular streamers excitedly returning to the game, as well as tens of thousands of players wanting to play the game, too. It's possible that the popularity and growth of these servers may drive Rust's concurrent player totals even higher in the coming days and weeks.
Rust's popularity on Steam is complemented by its popularity on Twitch. SteamDB's tracking claims that as many as 1.2 million Twitch viewers watched streamers play Rust over the past week. Twitch had an unfortunate issue today and went down during prime hours, so it's difficult to say whether it would have had record viewers, too. It would definitely have been likely, though.
Rust isn't the only game that has had a resurgent year in 2020. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is another great example. But it isn't limited to just multiplayer games, either. The Witcher 3 set a record for concurrent players earlier this year, though that was in part due to the new Netflix show.
Rust is available now on PC.