During the corona pandemic, public life in European countries is drastically reduced. During the time at home, gaming and esports in particular stand out as leisure activities. This is shown by rapidly increasing online numbers.
The state of emergency in Europe has had a major impact on everyday life for several weeks now due to the corona virus. All major events have been cancelled, professional sport is mostly paused, and numerous shops remain closed. Online platforms are helping as the most popular alternatives against the dreariness. In this critical phase, gaming and esports form a combination of social support and pastimes – for both viewers and active players.
Record: Over 20 million users simultaneously on Steam
Steam has been known for years for enormous daily user numbers in the millions. But in times of closed daycare centers and schools as well as home offices and quarantines, the number of users reaches a new peak. Last Sunday, over 20 million players were online simultaneously on Steam, as Steam Database announced via Twitter.
The online sales platform of developer Valve is known for its successful Esports titles Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The latter title contributed to the record Sunday and also experienced a milestone: over one million simultaneous users. Only Dota 2 and PUBG had been able to break this sound barrier on Steam.
And there is another reason why Steam was and still is so successful on that Sunday. In addition to numerous playable gaming titles, Steam offers a social network in which users from all over the world can communicate. Especially during the Corona pandemic, this kind of networking is a safe alternative to maintain contacts.
Livestreams to Esports matches are getting more and more popular
To round off the CS:GO theme, the organiser ESL has received a lot of attention with the new season of the ESL Pro League which started on Monday. More than 1.4 million viewers tuned in on Tuesday, according to the ESL statement. Many of them watched the sensational opening victory of the German top team BIG against Fnatic.
In general, there is a clear increase in the number of viewers in gaming in general. According to data from the StreamElements platform, worldwide viewer numbers have increased by more than ten percent on Twitch and even more than 15 percent on Youtube Gaming.
A further increase is expected in the coming days, wrote Doron Nir, CEO of StreamElements. With the return of the professional leagues in League of Legends, the number of online viewers is expected to increase once again.
Italy is reaching the limits of the network
Italy, the country most severely affected by COVID-19 in Europe, recorded explosive user numbers in the online sector at the beginning of the month. Telecom Italia reported that “an increase of over 70 percent” in Internet usage was recorded. This was said by Luigi Gubitosi, CEO of Telecom Italia on 11 March.
Especially because since last week children and young people have had to stay at home, the frequent use of the Battle Royale games Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone has reached the internet limit. Besides gaming, other streaming services such as Netflix are also overloading the network.
Spanish football derby causes a furore
Sports fans can look forward to virtual alternatives. For example, Formula 1 professionals like Max Verstappen devote themselves to Sim Racing. Meanwhile, the Spanish football derby between FC Sevilla and Betis Sevilla has generated almost 60,000 spectators at the top of Twitch.
Spanish content creator Ibai “Ibai” Llanos, best known as the shoutcaster in League of Legends, has provided live commentary on the FIFA match between Sergio Reguilón and Birja Iglesias. The match was a real online hit for the Spanish viewers, who are unable to watch football due to the compulsory break in the Primera Division.
Charity in the fight against the corona virus
World football champion Mesut Özil, who is in quarantine, is playing for the good cause with his organisation M10 Fortnite. In Dota 2, top teams like Team Liquid and Team Secret donate to the “WeSave! Charity Play”, top teams like Team Liquid and Team Secret donate the collected income against COVID-19.