Steam and Xbox Live are reported to be witnessing usage spikes due to the novel Coronavirus outbreak, which is leading people to stay home to prevent the virus from spreading.
This is a further confirm that people staying home are spending their time mostly on video games, especially for online gaming purposes, as already seen in Italy where there was a 70% spike in the usage of the domestic network, mainly due to kids not going at school and playing Fortnite (and similar titles).
According to the stats tracker Steam Database, Valve’s gaming platform has reached a new concurrent online user record of 20 million. The peak of simultaneous players was fixed at 6.2 million, and this is “likely due to many people staying at home” because of the Covid-19.
The most played games are Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, and Rainbow Six: Siege, online multiplayer classics that are retaining their positions but, if possible, even reaching new users thanks to gamers having more time to spend at home and being willing to test something faster.
Microsoft’s Executive Vice President at gaming Phil Spencer has also confirmed that Xbox Live has seen spikes in usage over the last few days. Xbox Live has suffered overnight outages, which are likely happening due to the many simultaneous connections to the servers on Xbox One and Windows-based systems.
“Usage is up on almost everything,” said Spencer on Twitter, before adding that people are working right now even if the emergency is growing more dangerous day after day, especially in the Washington area for what concerns the United States.
“Thanks go out to all the Ops/IT teams at all the companies that are working hard to keep everything running smoothly with all going on around them,” he shared, and mentioning this is also mean to be kind with Microsoft at this difficult time, even if for a brief moment you can play your online games as you would.
Covid-19’s spreading is causing more and more issues in the gaming industry, with multiple events such as GDC 2020 and E3 2020 being postponed or canceled in favor of digital experiences. Microsoft has scrapped plans for its usual media briefing and will reveal more about a digital showcase, likely happening in June, in the coming weeks.
Analysts disagree over the likelihood that PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will suffer delays, with some claiming that there is a “strong” chance that this might be happening and confirmed over the next few months. Others said there is no evidence leading to that right now.