Never underestimate the innate cuteness of cats. It’s a phenomenon that’s served the Internet, Ancient Egyptian civilisation and Andrew Lloyd-Webber well. Now it’s the turn of Annapurna Interactive, publishers of miaow ‘em up Stray, who have seen the highest concurrent player counts on Steam for any of their games released to date. That's despite the game being free to PlayStation owners right now, if you sign up for their newly added seven-day free trial of their PlayStation Plus Extra subscription. Watch the trailer below to get a dose of cuteness for yourself.
Following Stray’s launch on the 19th, it peaked at a concurrent player count of 62,963 according to SteamDB. They aren’t the huge figures seen for 2022's other smash games such as Elden Ring, V Rising or Lost Ark, but Annapurna’s other games haven’t garnered that many players on launch before. As industry pundit BenjiSales tweeted, this June’s excellent speedrunning card-shooter Neon White garnered a peak player count of 3,277, while 2019’s space time-loop adventure Outer Wilds saw just 7,936 at its peak.
There’s obviously an element of cuteness to Stray that’s appealing to a wider audience than many of Annapurna Interactive’s other games. The publisher is enjoying the moment though, having renamed themselves ‘Annapurrna Intercative’ on social media. It’s not just humans enjoying Stray either – their cats do too, as Graham pointed out after the game launched earlier this week.
One of RPS’s many cat owners, Katharine awarded the moggy sim a Bestest Bests in her Stray review. “Stray is still a remarkable action adventure game in its own right, and whose naturalistic approach to 3D platforming is among the best I've seen,” she said. “It proves we don't need condescending slathers of paint to point us in the right direction anymore, and that there are better, more immersive ways of traversing dense and detailed play environments.”
Stray is on Steam for £24/$30/€27. It’s exclusive to PlayStation on console though. Cats are fickle, eh?
Update: we've updated this article to clarify how PlayStation users can currently play Stray for free - that is, by signing up to a free seven-day trial of its PlayStation Plus Extra subscription. Originally, we said it was free as part of the subscription, which is of course a paid thing. Apologies for the oversight!