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Why Rust’s Popularity Exploded



Although it was released into early access in 2013, the first week of 2021 saw the online survival game Rust break its record for player count—twice! Not only that but developer Facepunch studios reported to have made over $1 million in daily revenue twice in the first week of 2020, selling over 400,000 copies of the game so far this year.

This means that not only has the game hit its all-time high, but many of these players are totally new to Rust—which of course begs the question, why now?

What is Rust?

In Rust, players are thrown into a procedurally generated map and must scavenge for materials and supplies in order to craft weapons, build bases and ensure their survival. This, in many ways, is totally formulaic of the various survival Minecraft-like games which littered the early 2010s.

However, it’s easy to argue that the main draw of rust isn’t this core, but the wealth of online interactions this facilitates. This is because the game is multiplayer only, leaving players to their own devices as to whether they will collaborate or compete.

Thanks to its wealth of systems—from base-building to local voice chat—there are plenty of opportunities to dupe other players, making for some of the most thrilling moments the game has to offer.

Why it has Blown Up in 2021

Since its initial release into early access 2013 the game’s player count has been steadily rising; likely thanks to its unique gameplay and various content creators such as Welyn or Markiplier. And this spike in player count in early 2021 is largely for the same reason.

This particular explosion of interest can easily be credited to a group of high-profile streamer who joined a server started by OfflineTV. The streamers involved include: Shroud, XQc, Disguised Toast, Pokimane, Myth and many more. Because of this, at the time of writing, Rust has the highest viewer count on Twitch—with Shroud’s stream topping the list.

OfflineTVs server ignited a new fire in Rust, engaging the streamers and their viewers and introducing a wealth of new gamers to the game in the process.

But that doesn’t mean the server hasn’t had a touch of controversy. Well known quick-talking streamer XQc took to the server and formed a PvP Stable he named Team Rocket, leading to a fair amount of killing and looting. But this didn’t sit well with streamers looking to role-play on the server.

Because of this OfflineTV opened a second, smaller, private server on January 7 so that the two camps (PvP and role-players) can both receive their optimal experiences.

Get Watching

While OfflineTV’s server may be the exact reason why Rust has had such a surge already in 2021, its fair to say Rust is also a game well suited to viewership.

This is because the game is incredibly difficult, with death often carrying a huge price. Because of all this stress, and the prospect of losing days or weeks of progress due to another reckless player, playing the game isn’t exactly everyone’s cup of tea.

That said, placing an enthusiastic streamer into the world of Rust is a recipe for great entertainment—meaning it may indeed be one of the best ways for more casual gamers to enjoy everything the game has to offer.

Of course, this shouldn’t deter you from giving it a go—but perhaps give it a watch first! But if you do want to try your hand at its punishing systems, why not consider purchasing a kitted out Rust account at—it’ll give you that head start you may need!


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