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Xbox Live, Microsoft's online gaming network, has seen a massive spike in demand in the last few days. The service is currently struggling somewhat under the sheer of volume of users attempting to game online. As I'm sure you can imagine, this is all thanks to the increase in people unable to go to school or work as the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) forces more and more folk to remain indoors.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer confirmed the surge in activity in a tweet, writing that Xbox Live "usage is up on almost everything." He also made sure to thank the operations and IT teams, as well as well as the companies currently supplying online services to everyone at what is undeniably a difficult, unprecedented period.
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.- Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) March 15, 2020
"It's heartening to hear from so many people using gaming as a way to stay connected during these times," said Spencer in an earlier tweet. "Play is a fundamental human need. Proud to be part of an industry that can offer escape and fun right now. Stay safe."
This increase in Xbox Live users comes just days after it was reported that Steam had hit a new concurrent online user record of 20 million. That's over 1.1 million more than the previous record that was reported last month. While it's unclear what one game - if any - caused last month's surge, we have to assume that coronavirus is responsible for this latest record-breaking development.
That number doesn't seem to have been a fluke or a blip, either. At the time of writing, there are over 19.5 million concurrent users active on Steam, further implying that self-isolation and lockdowns are absolutely the cause of these rocketing numbers. Weirdly enough though, only about 5.4 million of those players are actually in a game right now. I guess the other 14 or so million are still deciding what to play? We've all been there.
#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.https://t.co/bzLMfMOJvD#COVID19- Steam Database (@SteamDB) March 15, 2020
As scientists around the world work to contain and battle the spread of coronavirus, I'd imagine it'll be a little while before we should be heading back outside. In that time, expect to see player numbers rise even further as people find an escape in gaming. And of course, if you're starting to get a little anxious, you could always try one of these relaxing games to soothe the soul. Just remember, it'll all be fine in the end.
Featured Image Credit: Microsoft
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