Long-time Early Access survival game, Raft, has hit a new concurrent player record of 100,000 players following its recent update to version 1.0, officially leaving EA after several years of development. The ongoing Steam Summer Sale that dropped its price by a few dollars probably helped too.
Raft is one of the best examples of an Early Access survival game done right, among an enormous glut of terrible ones done wrong. While Raft development has been slow, it's had a core functional game since day one that has a great gameplay loop of survival, expansion, and exploration. Slowly but surely the developers have improved and expanded on that over the years, and now there's a pretty robust game, blending relaxing exploration and construction, with tense underwater gathering and combat with a dangerous shark. While that danger does fade with experience, there are new and exciting parts of the world to explore, and increased challenge from some of the harder to gather and craft materials.
Following the addition of a true endgame with the Raft 1.0 release, Raft is now a full game and worthy of shedding its Early Access skin and that's driven player numbers way up. With a mix of new and returning players, Raft officially hit 100,000 concurrent gamers over the weekend, making it one of the most popular games on Steam at the time. Just as impressive is the growth of the game's Twitch streaming audience, which since the major update went live has exploded to over 200,000 viewers at times and there's been a steady 50,000+ viewers for days now.
For context, the typical player numbers for Raft have bounced around over the years between 5,000 and 15,000, so leaping to over 100,000 is a major achievement for the developers. They'll continue to expand Raft with additional content in the near term, but it's possible we'll start to see a new game emerge from this now wildly successful indie dev team.
Will you give Raft another go now it's hit 1.0?