Gamepires is crushing it with their latest battle royale-esque survival simulation, SCUM, that just hit the streets on August 29th. In less than two weeks, it has already racked up over 900 videos and 50 million views on YouTube, hit Steam Top 10, and ranked as THE 3rd most popular game on Twitch. And the game is only out on Steam Early Access — the full release isn’t happening until 2019.
What is this SCUM?
Imagine you are a supermax inmate who gets sent to a prison island called Bagne de Cayenne with 63 other detainees. Surprise, surprise — your main two objectives are trying to survive AND escaping from this place the moment you get there.
Why the obsession?
The game’s character customization and progression are why more and more gamers are becoming so obsessed with it. Unlike other survival games, you get to control and keep track of your body temperature, metabolism, muscle mass, nutrient levels, and stomach volume when you are playing. All of this information about your bodily functions will then determine how you perform on the island. For example, if you manage your metabolism well and consume enough calories to keep your energy high and not become overweight, you become stronger and the chances for you to survive increase. If you don’t take good care of your body, you will get sick, suffer really badly, and potentially die… and then return as a zombie.
Basically, if you want to win, relying on your survival instincts and knowledge is pretty much necessary. But, you might have a better shot at it by watching your diet, staying hydrated, exercising, and keeping your body at its best shape — just like you would in real life.
- It looks like Gamepires had a smart influencer strategy: based on the number of SCUM videos and streams that were live on the date of launch, Gamepires gave Twitch streamers and YouTubers early access to the game (also says Polygon). We saw many videos published on the day of or after its release (e.g. H20Delirious, Draegast, Fugglet), creating hype and momentum for the title. According to the data on the Matchmade platform, there were 223 videos published on YouTube about SCUM in the 2 first days of launch (Aug 29 – 30). Comparing to Fortnite, the number of videos is 42 (Jul 25-26 2017), and for its Battle Royale launch, the number is 182 (Sep 26-27 2017). So in terms of the number of videos published in the first 2 days around launch, SCUM is a bigger deal than Fortnite Battle Royale.
- It’s the most played game on Steam, and has been in the top 10 two weeks in a row. Being popular attracts folks to publish content about it. And, when there are people playing, the demand for videos and streams grows, which again increases the number of players.
- It’s complex and difficult, which creates increased demand for gameplay guides and advice on how to progress in the game. What a great reason to publish videos… and watch them too.
- It’s pretty. Yes, the game, itself, is violent and gory but the graphics are AAA quality. Many popular games (Granny, Baldi’s Basics in Education and Learning) on YouTube don’t have top notch graphics too but viewership tends to be high for games with AAA-quality graphics (e.g. God of War & Fortnite).
- It’s accessible. The price point is around €16, which isn’t too steep of a price on Steam. Here’s a great resource to compare pricing on Steam.
- It’s the hype around Fortnite Battle Royale. Survival games have been experiencing a bit of a renaissance with it. People get what it’s about, which increases demand for other titles with similar traits.
- It’s different. Although survival games are an evergreen genre, SCUM offers a new theme and is a refreshing title on the market. It’s been a while since the last prison game was released. The most recent and relevant game we can think of is Prison Break, which was launched in 2010 and wasn’t a commercial hit.
- It’s violent. Blood and splatter seem to have an audience.. Look at Grand Theft Auto — it still had over 600 million views on YouTube last month.
- It’s fun to play. The complex survival mechanics of SCUM make it difficult to master, which also makes it fun.
Meanwhile, here is a few funny SCUM video to watch:
We can’t wait to see how this game progresses when the full version is out!