Fire up Steam in the early hours of the day and you might notice a surprising new entry near the top of the platform’s Most Played list: Goose Goose Duck. The free-to-play social deduction game was the No. 3 most-played game on Steam on Thursday, reaching a peak of 563,677 players and pushing past Steam favorites like PUBG: Battlegrounds, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and Apex Legends.
What has driven Goose Goose Duck’s surge in popularity? Gaggle.fun, the developers behind Goose Goose Duck, can thank Korean pop behemoth BTS, of course.
Goose Goose Duck was originally released in October 2021, after an Early Access launch six months earlier. The social deduction game, in which players take on the role of geese trying to root out the masquerading duck (or other bird) among them, typically had a few thousand players each day, previously peaking in February last year with 21,362 players, according to data from Steamcharts.
But in November of last year, V from BTS — real name Kim Taehyung — started streaming Goose Goose Duck to fans through the social app and web platform Weverse. (He also streamed Fall Guys and Among Us.) Almost immediately, Goose Goose Duck quickly became a much bigger hit, going from around 6,000 peak concurrent players in mid-November to nearly 130,000 peak concurrent players a month later. The game’s peak player numbers tripled by the end of the year.
That success became overwhelming for Gaggle.fun, which posted about a Goose Goose Duck server outage on Jan. 2, attributed to the mass influx of new players.
“We appreciate all the love and support,” the developer said in a post on Steam, “we expected a large increase in players but not like this. 250k increase of our already massive player base was too much. We’re working on increasing capacity as fast as we can and will keep everyone updated. We apologize for the inconvenience, we’re all working hard to make sure everyone can play.”
Goose Goose Duck’s largest player base appears to, unsurprisingly, be centralized in Asia. Based on data from Steamcharts, player numbers spike during the evenings in Korea, and are much much lower during daytime in North America. On Twitch, the game is enjoying a modest audience, with just a few hundred viewers at the time of this writing.
So while Goose Goose Duck may have appeared to draw gameplay and aesthetic direction from Among Us, the game seems to be following its lead in another way: by becoming an “overnight” success long after its debut, thanks to a popular streamer. With BTS currently on hiatus, hopefully the hitmakers of Korea’s biggest pop band can help other obscure games find a new audience.