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Brief Published: 24 Feb 2021

Social Players Flock to Norse Survival Game

Multiplayer survival game Valheim has sold three million copies since its early-access release on February 2, amassing over 500,000 concurrent players, and at times overtaking multiplayer mega-game Dota 2's share of live engagement.

The game from five-person Swedish developer team Iron Gate drops players into an open world inspired by Norse mythology, where their first task is to survive the night by creating shelter and rudimentary tools. From there, they upgrade by living off the digital land – scavenging and hunting for food and materials.

Vitally, Valheim has multiplayer co-op play, meaning players can invite friends and strangers into their worlds. Up to 10 players can hang out together on a server and nurture a growing and persistent village community among themselves. In addition, there are in-game bosses – mythical creatures like sea serpents and lightning-powered stags – to hunt on the game's sprawling map for players to unlock special abilities. This creates a dynamic gameplay mix of investing in a digital homestead and social time with friends, and going out to pursue adventure and skill growth on boss-hunting missions.

Search interest for "online games to play with friends" jumped by 20 times last year (Google, 2020). Keeping digital playgrounds fresh is key here – already, Valheim's development roadmap promises four updates for the remainder of 2021.

For more on how social gaming is reshaping the way people socialise with friends and interact with brands online, check out Engaging the New Casual Gaming Generation in our Pop Culture Primer 2021.

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