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Rust tops a million peak viewers on Twitch, thanks to dozens of big-time streamers

Rust custom wallpaper by @HamdiTemaj on Twitter

Rust custom wallpaper by @HamdiTemaj on Twitter (Image credit: @HamdiTemaj on Twitter)

Rust has been an extremely popular PC game for an extremely long time. Despite being in Early Access since 2013 and having a full release in 2018 (though it's still being updated regularly), Facepunch Studios' multiplayer survival sandbox has been hovering around the top ten list on Steam for years.

But as we've seen in Among Us, Phasmophobia, and others, streamers can give games a big, sudden push—even those that are already popular, like Rust.

A horde of well-known streamers swarmed into Rust around the holidays: Shroud, XQc, Pokimane, Disguised Toast, Sodapoppin, Myth, and tons of other popular Twitch streamers began playing Rust together on the same server, set up by Offline TV, at the end of December. This sudden burst of celebrity interest took Rust to a new peak of viewership—over a million viewers simultaneously watched streamers playing Rust on January 3.

Naturally, this also led to a new peak of concurrent players on Steam (134,255 today, which tops Rust's record of 125,415 from April 0f 2020). That's not quite the peak we saw with Among Us, but Rust is both more expensive and far more complicated than Innersloth's adorable little space sabotage simulator.

And, as you might expect, all those personalities playing a famously brutal survival game together led to a bit of drama, too.

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I haven't untangled all the drama (and I don't plan to because trying to get a complete picture from a bunch of contextless Twitch clips and Twitter posts is difficult) but it sounds like there were some allegations of stream-sniping, and reports of some streamers going a little heavy on the PvP against others who were hoping for more of a collective roleplaying and building experience. Sounds like the typical experience of playing on a public Rust server, in other words.

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On the plus side, it looks like a second Offline TV server is in the works, which will feature fewer streamers and more of a focus on RP, while still providing room for PvP from time to time. You can check it out for yourself—currently, Rust is still number on on Twitch.

Christopher Livingston

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.