How COVID-19 is Growing the Gaming Industry
The world is coping with the fear of the global coronavirus pandemic. With financial markets tumbling, the majority of countries under lockdown, and a global recession looming. A wave of fear and anxiety is running through millions of people across the world. While the dire consequences are visible, it is still too early to measure the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, if the situation persists, the impact it leaves would be immeasurable and catastrophic.
Though the situation remains unpredictable given the current circumstances, we humans have always adapted to whatever situations we are put in and that’s how our race has survived. The very spirit remains undaunted and has to, no matter what. We have always found ways to adjust to the harshest of conditions and overcome it all. We know people are posting hilarious videos of themselves dancing or singing on social channels from home and inspiring millions. The key here is self-motivation and keeping oneself upbeat. You have to go on, live on and even if you want to, don’t step out.
Mobile Gaming Increases as People Have More Free Time
Quarantine and chill, this is the new mantra amid the coronavirus pandemic. And as the world adjusts to self-isolation, millions of people who are now at home 24/7 are finding the time to take up forgotten hobbies such as gardening, painting, cooking and so on to keep them engaged. But there is one thing that most people are turning to, and it is online gaming.
The gaming industry is one that fluctuates with social and societal trends providing an activity that keep users entertained and explore their creative minds through the use of technology. With a circumstance such as a coronavirus outbreak, there is a huge increase in interest in the gaming and virtual reality industry. This is because people now have an extra amount of time to spare. Computer and video games are an easy way people are turning to pass the time and keep busy with something instead of sitting around.
With the development of high-tech mobile phones or smartphones as they are usually known can offer almost everything a computer can, it is even more easy and accessible for people to play games using phone devices. All this free time has allowed more users to connect and explore different gaming platforms that are available and boosted the use of multiple sources or providers. With the unknown future, predictions for the gaming industry are expected to rise with desire and usage across the world.
Mobile Game Searches Increase Due to Stay at Home Orders
In times of staying at home, many people are spending hours playing their favorite games online, a way to connect with other people or gamers worldwide. This is not because they are obsessed, but gaming helps reduce stress and anxiety, something people need the most right now.
Online gaming platforms have seen an unprecedented increase in traffic to their video game recommendation lists with overall website traffic doubling in the past few months. This shows there is a clear and measurable demand for gaming in the current environment. The pages related to mobile management games have surged by 857%, followed by puzzle games at 590%, and social games by 368%.
Overall video-game internet traffic has increased 75% since restrictions were imposed, according to Verizon. Also, one of the largest PC gaming platforms, the Stream says that it has hit the new record with nearly 20.7 million players actively gaming or chatting on its platform at the same time. Another one, Bungie game developers say that the daily user engagement on their game Destiny 2 has increased by 10% worldwide and as much as 20% in the markets most affected by the coronavirus.
Steam, a leading online retailer of video games, recently hit a peak of 20.3 million concurrent players, 11% above the previous high. Twitch, which allows gamers to live-stream videos of their game-play, has seen its average viewership increase to more than 1.5 million. This was because they broadcasted FIFA 20 where Real Betis striker Borja Iglesias kicked the winning goal using his digital likeness in the 6-5 battle against Sevilla and a stadium-sized virtual audience watched online. Also, the recent development in online gambling practices have helped the gaming industry boom.
This reflects the social nature of video games today. Many analysts and online gaming industry leaders see them as social networks more than a digital version of a board game or an interactive movie. Players use these games as a way to connect with and spend time with their friends or loved ones, just as teens once strolled the shopping center or spent hours on the phone after school.
However, today the most popular games are based around multiplayer experiences that are updated with new content and challenges on a daily basis, and which go far beyond combat-based games such as “Call of Duty” or “Street Fighter”.
For example, Grand Theft Auto, launched a virtual casino last year which allows players to hang out while essentially gaming for real money (several countries banned this feature). Few other games like Roblox and Minecraft, both of which have more than 100m monthly active users and amass more than 1 billion hours of playtime a month, players can build their games or play those built by others, rather than those developed by the companies itself. A community of Minecraft players in China recently paid a tribute to the builders and hospital workers on the front line by recreating, at scale, the hospitals built in Wuhan following the COVID-19 outbreak.
These new records have helped highlight the growing but underappreciated cultural role of online gaming entertainment. According to Nielsen, consumers spend around $ 120 billion per year on online gaming globally, which compares to roughly $30 billion on recorded music, and $42.5 billion at the box office.
And why not? Internet usage is relatively low in online gaming as compared to downloading games. Most analysts expect this growth to continue to rise not only due to COVID-19 but gaming’s increasingly sophisticated capabilities as well.
The demand trend will continue to rise for the foreseeable future but also expect to see high volatility in the top lists for the respective app stores as people constantly seek out new titles.
Users Turn to Virtual Sports Due to Cancellation of Live Sport Events
Due to current quarantine and lockdowns, physical sporting events have been put off. Thus, numerous companies are now focusing on online gaming. Physical fitness games, for example, have a huge fan base. For instance, Nintendo’s Ring Fit Adventure, a role-playing game that requires the player to perform fitness routines and other physical activities, has quickly soared its users. Meanwhile, professional sports teams like the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns have begun offering digital versions of their fixtures on NBA 2K to keep basketball fans engaged amid the suspension of the season. Also, they are hosting its first-ever 3-on-3 tournament where players can participate online and grab the opportunity to win a prize of $ 25,000.
Boxing is another which has a huge fan base. With real fights postponed due to the virus outbreak, companies have turned to games to keep fans entertained. The fights are being played virtually using computer-versus-computer simulations, with greatest ever heavyweights pitted against each other in a tournament series and streamed online. The first two contests they streamed were viewed by nearly half a million people from across the globe and put Electronic Arts Inc’s EA game Fight Night Champion in limelight.
One the other hand, traditional casinos remain closed due to lockdown and many states are looking into legalizing online gambling, which would also curb the sharp decline in gaming tax revenue. So, far New Jersey, Michigan, West Virginia, Nevada, Pennsylvanian, and Delaware have legalized online gambling, with Nevada allowing only poker as an online casino game.
With that said, there are certain benefits as well of playing online games.
Playing Online Games Ease Loneliness
As communities across the globe are urged to stay indoors and practice physical or social distancing, feeling of isolation and loneliness can become more prevalent. To fight the potential social and psychological impacts, many people turn to online gaming.
Online games were once widely perceived as inherently anti-social and the World Health Organization too had warned about the risks of too much gaming. However, they recently launched #PlayApartTogether, partnering with major gaming studios to encourage people to stay home.
Even without the presence of a global pandemic, the online game market is staggering in size, far exceeding the film and music industries. People play games for many reasons, including relaxation, escapism and of course for fun, but they also provide spaces for people to get together and stay connected. This is especially important in these uncertain times, when people may be feeling increasingly isolated, lonely and anxious.
Help Develop Skills
Challenging games like the arcade or card games with a friend are known to improve memory, concentration, and analytical skills that add to your overall mental enrichment. Several games also involve money and strategy, requiring absolute concentration and attentiveness, whether you are playing alone or with a group of friends. Being extremely aware of every move made by an opponent, trying to catch what they might be thinking or any giveaway in their behavior or action will surely make you more alert and observant of the actions of the people around you, even when you are not playing the game. So, online games induce cognitive and interpersonal skill development all while keeping your brain in the best shape during such stressful times.
Keep People Engaged
While online games heavily depend on short-term memory, they have also proven to improve long-term memory and other important skills. However, in these uncertain times when most of the people are forced to stay at home, they get bored and find themselves without anything to do. Online games step in to fill this vacuum, keeping people occupied and active both mentally and psychologically. Playing games against virtual rivals or human rivals in a virtual setting is cognitively engaging as playing with a human in the real world.
Great Way to Interact
Online games also promote communication and teamwork. Games like PUBG and similar others provide people an incentive to work with each other to win at games. This helps people interact better with others in their day-to-day lives offline or in their workplaces. This is especially helpful for people who are shy or introvert, as the online medium allows them to communicate with others more tangibly under their control.
Good Source of Entertainment
Online games address a common human need for entertainment with convenience. However, when staying at home with nothing to do, online games occupy the time which would otherwise be wasted in just lying here and there around the house doing nothing at all. So, get on to the virtual world and keep yourself entertained. Players can pick from different genres of the game to suit their needs and get their entertainment fix more efficiently than before.
Also, the online games offer good competition and a host of other benefits and rewards like everyday jackpots, reward points, tournaments, and festive bonanzas ensuring that users always have always something to look forward to. Apart from this, online portals often have video tutorials and practice games to help newcomers and beginners get accustomed to the game and sharpen their skills before entering the fray.
Moreover, these platforms have easy-to-use interfaces, encryption-based security, chat-based customer support, and a host of other features and benefits to make the online gaming experience an enjoyable one.
All in all, playing online games help players develop or enhance complex problem-solving skills, leadership skills, and the ability to deal better with unexpected consequences. Online games also enhance a player’s skills of observation, intuitive abilities, and improve their alertness and concentration. They can be a welcome and relaxing experience amidst the coronavirus outbreak, offering stress relief while developing key social skills.
Here is a list of games you should play while staying at home to avoid coronavirus.
Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield
What better way to cope with being stuck inside your home than playing a game where you get to leave home and go on a bold outdoor adventure virtually? These games are the best iterations in the series in years, with great new monsters and a lot of streamlined mechanics.
Being cooped up in the home sucks, and things can feel little glim. Sunset Overdrive will solve both these issues, giving you a super-saturated world of Sunset City to jump in, dash, and grind around with an irreverent sense of humor that is just great and over-the-top enough to work with.
PUBG is a game that almost everyone will jump in to play at the drop of a hat. However, when you are working from home all day, on your own, playing a game is sometimes more about getting to hang out with other human beings than it is about the actual game itself.
Another sector that is booming in the gaming industry is the in-game trading platforms.
In-Game Items Trading Platforms are Growing
In-game items trading platforms are also experiencing growth during the past couple of months. The turnover of transactions made on one of the leading in-game items trading platforms, DMarket increased by 70% throughout February and March 2020, compared to December 2019 alone. It observed more users from China, Italy, the USA, UK, France, and Germany trading on the platform. It follows key marketing trends to push users online as efforts become directed towards mobile users. This currently is the most fast-growing market in the gaming industry.
People are sitting at home and not only using games as a play but also as ways to communicate, as social media. Coronavirus could further increase the time people spend playing games on mobile daily by at least 20%.
Also, at some point, the majority will leave real life for the gaming world and this enforced isolation will only speed up the transition. Amidst, this you certainly won’t be surprised to hear about new real-life businesses inside these games such as dating agencies or new virtual bars, clubs or festivals in the next few months.
Summing it All Up
With people looking for recreational activities in the times of self-quarantine and lockdown, an already existing potential market is further expected to grow exponentially. Owing to a steady rise in consumption volumes, the gaming industry will witness an ecosystem of engaged gamers, creative designers, and developers with a good amount of investments pouring into the industry and production of themed games.
If you work in the online gaming industry, consider yourself to be very lucky. Not only do you have the chance to work from home and continue creating, but you also have a big advantage over other industries since people are playing mobile games more than ever. Use this time to work harder than ever before and in your free time, focus on education.
For all we know, the online gaming industry is only going to see a spike in these unpredictable times and more people are going to play games of skill. So, stay home, stay safe and game on.