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This month, a $5 indie game that released in 2018 cracked into the all-time, record-setting peak player club on Steam. According to Steamcharts, 388,385 people played Among Us simultaneously, more than Grand Theft Auto 5 on its Steam debut. Every day it sits just underneath Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 for active players. And that’s not counting the ones who are playing on iOS and Android—or the ones who quickly give up and close the game when the servers buckle under the strain.

How did Among Us become such a sudden phenomenon, nearly two years after it launched? So big that it became the most-streamed game on Twitch in September, and its developers canceled plans for a sequel to keep working on it? The quick, simple answer is: Twitch streamers. But there’s more to it than that, because people aren’t just watching Among Us. They’re playing it in droves thanks to a few key things: Free mobile apps, extremely low PC system requirements, and the Mafia.



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