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April Fools' phenom Content Warning draws in more than 204,000 concurrent players

 Content warning game.
Content warning game.

Content Warning, a co-op horror game in which you and your friends go viral or die trying, made an immediate splash when it launched on Steam on April 1. To an extent, that was unsurprising—it was free for the first 24 hours of release—but I don't think many people foresaw that it would go quite this big: The Content Warning team said more than 6.2 million people claimed the game on April Fool's Day, and it racked up a peak concurrent player count of over 204,000.

"It's been a real treat watching all of your videos and we are so happy that we've managed to create something that makes people have fun together," the developers said in an update posted to Steam.

Content Warning comes off at first glance as something of a gag game, and not just because of its release date. The trailer is pretty goofy, as is the whole game premise, and there's kind of a slapdash quality to it all—the sort of thing that says "made on the cheap by guys in a hurry."

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The initial reaction was very positive, though, perhaps in part because publisher Landfall is known for prior April 1 games Totally Accurate Battle Simulator and Knightfall: A Daring Journey—neither of them very serious, but both actually very good.

And it's not just that rep that carried Content Warning. Staff writer Morgan Park had enough of a good time with his first run through it that he resolved to talk friends into playing it with him later. He also found (and I would think this is at least part of its appeal) that despite its self-proclaimed horror styling, Content Warning is really "more like a cheesy reality ghost hunting show combined with Jackass." Which, frankly, sounds like a good time to me.

The Content Warning team acknowledged in its message that "there are lots of bugs and server issues" to deal with, including problems with voices, connection and hosting issues, and problems with camera footage either not extracting or not being visible.

"We assure you that we are working on it," the team wrote. "Content Warning is made by a very small team of devs (only five people) so fixes may take a little while but we promise you we are doing our best to solve the issues."

Despite no longer being free, Content Warning continues to do quite well for itself. It's currently in seventh place on Steam's most-played chart, with more than 113,000 concurrent players, and it's got the sixth spot on the top sellers chart. Not bad for an April Fool.