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Steam and Xbox Live numbers soar as COVID-19 concerns rise

Published: 10:52, 16 March 2020
Valve
Steam logo with grayscale library in background.
Steam

They say every cloud has a silver lining, and while the world of gaming took quite a few hits due to the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, the digital side of gaming got a huge boost, with Steam and Xbox Live reporting some big numbers.

Granted, getting gamers into isolation doesn't come hard, as many of them spend a lot of time isolated, to begin with, especially if they're RPG fans. Heck, some of the latter probably know more NPCs than real people, wink wink.

It was not long ago that Steam reported 19 million concurrent players, which was quite impressive in its own right. Now, about a month later, this figure is already up to 20 million, even if the reason isn't exactly great.  

"Steam has just reached a new concurrent online user record of 20 million, with 6.2 million currently in-game, likely due to many people staying at home due to the coronavirus", Steam Database tweeted. It's well worth noting that PUBG's popularity in 2018 contributed to more in-game users, so that's not part of the record. 

Xbox Live has gotten a jolt as well, although we're a bit short on the numbers there. As confirmed by Xbox's Phil Spencer, the service is up in just about category. 

"Yea, usage is up on almost everything. 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 stated. 

With most gaming being cancelled or will be soon, we guess that one has to grasp at the positives, and Spencer actually summed it up pretty well. 

"It's heartening to hear from so many people using gaming as a way to stay connected during these times. Play is a fundamental human need.  Proud to be part of an industry that can offer escape and fun right now. Stay safe", he tweeted.

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