Phasmophobia is an indie horror game developed and published by Kinetic Games. The game became available in early access through Steam for Microsoft Windows in September 2020, along with virtual reality support. The game received a large influx of popularity the following month due to many well-known Twitch streamers and YouTubers playing it, mainly for the Halloween season. As of October 15, 2020, the game was the sixth-most popular game on Twitch. It was the best selling game on Steam globally for several weeks in October to November 2020.
The player takes control of one member from a group of up to four players, in the roles of urban exploring ghost hunters, who are contracted to deal with ghosts inhabiting different abandoned facilities such as homes, schools, prisons and asylums. The game features 12 different varieties of ghost, each of which behave differently. The ghost types are as follows: spirit, wraith, phantom, poltergeist, banshee, jinn, mare, revenant, shade, demon, yurei, and oni. In order to find out which type of ghost they have encountered, the players must collect evidence on the ghost. The end goal of the game is not to defeat the ghosts, but to collect enough information on them, while at the end of each mission the players get paid. Players communicate through voice chat, which the ghost itself hears and reacts to. The players can use different equipment to help their mission, such as UV flashlights, thermometers, EMF readers, CCTV cameras, crucifixes and Ouija boards. These tools can be used for different means, such as communication, investigation, protection and clue gathering.
The game was first seen on March 6, 2020, when its Steam page became live. An announcement trailer was then dropped three months later, announcing additional VR support and a release date for the early access build. On September 18, 2020, the game was released in early access for $14. After the release, the game received two major updates regarding bug fixes in the following week. Dknighter, the founder and sole member of Kinetic Games, has stated he hopes to release the full game somewhere in 2021. However, until that happens, he plans to keep the game’s price the same. During the course of game development after the early access release, one of the main goals for the updates was to improve the ghosts’ AI, making them smarter and less predictable, and consequently harder for players to deal with. According to Kinetic Games, there are no current plans on bringing the game to PlayStation 4.