COVID-19 drives online gaming spike

Need some recommendations for what games to play if you’re stuck at home? As gaming hub Steam clocks a record for online users, we’ve got you covered.

While physical communities and in-person interaction have been curtailed by the measures being put in place to control the spread of COVID-19, web communities are benefiting in a big way. Steam, the online gaming marketplace and distribution service, recently hit an all-time record for concurrent users – with over 20 million users logging in at the same time. That’s almost the equivalent of the population of Australia.

Most of these simply had the app open and were shopping, chatting or happened to have left it running in the background. But at the peak, some 6 million users were in-game at the same time – with over a million playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Additionally, almost 700,000 played Dota and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds topped 500,000 players.

COVID-catalysed growth

The figures are a reminder that some sectors are booming despite the economic gloom in the air. The stock market crashes and likely recession on the way due to the broader impacts of the novel coronavirus have their flipsides. In the wake of increasingly strict policies announced to control the spread of COVID-19 – including harsher social distancing, curfews, closing public venues such as pubs and theatres, paid or unpaid leave and working from home – many online platforms are getting a boost. Netflix is capitalising on the fact that more people are stuck at home, and phone companies are thriving – Vodafone has seen a 30% rise in internet traffic across its UK networks. Steam has steadily been gaining popularity for a long time, but the effect of social distancing measures has been to give users more time and opportunity to log on and play games – and they’re evidently doing it in droves.

Incent picks

There is no shortage of good games to play if you’re forced to self-isolate. The Guardian has its own list, with Minecraft, Golf Clash and Overcooked! 2 topping the rankings in Console, Mobile and PC games respectively. (Worms also makes a return in the form of Worms W.M.D, if you’re up for trying a remake of an absolute classic.)

Thanks to the success of Ingage within the streaming community, Incent has access to some of the best and most enthusiastic gamers on the planet. Here are some of their suggestions for playing and watching:


‘Right now I’m loving Wreckfest! It’s a modern destruction derby/banger racing style game. And of course GTA can provide hours of endless fun!’


‘My top picks? As you know I’m loving Animal Crossing New Horizons right now! Check out my island on YouTube. Fortnite and Mario Kart are great to play with friends, and there are plenty of game modes to experiment with! Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies is great for kicking some ass and grinding for high rounds :)’


‘It’s definitely worth suggesting some different multiplayer games, as we are in quarantine/isolation we need to find some human interaction somewhere. Some fun multiplayer games I have played/watched are: GTA, Dead By Daylight, Town of Salem (personal favourite of mine), PUBG, CoD Modern Warfare (they recently released a new Battle Royale mode which is quite fun), and Wreckfest (I watch Zonda play that and it looks fun as well)!’

For more suggestions for games or streams to check out, why not join Incent’s Discord?

Guy Brandon crypto advisor and author

Guy Brandon

UK-based cryptocurrency writer and communicator since early 2014. Full-time Digital Ronin. Closely involved with WavesPlatform and Incent. See what I do at
Find Guy on Twitter @cassiuscrypto or LinkedIn.