COVID-19 Impact: An Unprecedented Boom in Gaming Industry
In recent years, the Gaming Industry has shown positive growth worldwide with last year's revenues crossing over $150 billion.
With the pandemic hitting the world in the very first quarter of 2020, most of the industries got badly hit - be it Hospitality, Travel, FMCG, etc.
But, almost everyone resorting to gaming in all the extra time they have during global lockdown has helped the Gaming industry to surge even in ‘these tough times’.
In fact, online games like Animal Crossing, Skribble, etc have helped friends and family to stay together while they all the staying apart.
Not only it is a great pastime but online games have completely changed the way people are socializing these days. Apps like Houseparty offer video calls and integrated games to take it to the next level. It gives you an opportunity to be on a video call with up to 7 friends and play interesting games simultaneously.
The Booming Statistics
All the major gaming companies have stated that they have seen a surge in their statistics since the global lockdown started taking place in various parts of the world from Feb 2020.
One of the largest online gaming platforms, Steam, announced that it has broken the record of the most number of simultaneous players on the platform. It happened on the after of March 15 when 20.3 million players were online on the platform simultaneously.
Not only interactive games like Fortnite, COD, Minecraft, etc are seeing this rise in users. Even simple idle games like Click test, Cookie Clickers, etc have seen a significant spike.
A recent report released by Pokkt stated that there was a 39% spike in the number of mobile game downloads in the month of March 2020. It also reported that almost 4 million mobile game downloads occurred in March whereas the figure was 2.9 million in Feb 2019.
Microsoft-owned Xbox Live also reported that it crossed 90 million monthly active users in the month of April 2020. The Xbox Game Pass service also made it to 10 million subscribers in the same month.
It is the effect this lockdown only that the US video game sales have hit a decade-high in Mar 2020.
Increase in Job Opportunities
To cater to the increased demand, the gaming studios have also started hiring creating job opportunities for new talent.
In the US itself, there are more than 8000+ gaming related jobs are posted on Indeed, a prime job search platform. Not only the western world, Asian countries like India are also having more than 23000 jobs according to Xpheno, a specialist staffing firm.
Apart from full-time jobs, this pandemic has also created a leveled playing field for Indie game developers as the audience is now more open to trying new games. If you've a game idea in your mind then there won't be a better to develop and release your game!
Will this trend Continue or Fade Away?
Many experts believe that this boom will continue but not at this pace. The fact is, as the lockdown is relieved and eventually gets lifted completely, people with getting back to their normal routines. This means lesser game sessions, lesser engagement, and ultimately lesser revenues.
But, it cannot be denied that a reasonable number of people who have started gaming just during the COVID-19 period have already developed a habit of these games (thanks to the addictiveness of modern games).
These users are more likely to keep playing these games and turn into a retained customer. And that’s the reason gaming companies are doing everything they can to retain this surge.
Some studios have released new versions of popular games to cash in on this trend and it includes biggies like Electronic Arts and Nintendo as well.
EA released the Call of Duty: Warzone which raked up 60 million players since its launch in Mar 2020. Nintendo also released the Animal Crossing: New Horizons in the same month and it sold over 13.5 million copies till April 2020.
The growth of the industry shall also open new opportunities for the young generation who have been impacted by global layoffs.
With all the efforts from the stakeholders of the industry, hopefully, we will see more and more such exciting games in coming future.
In these tough times when hundreds and thousands of people have lost their lives and their jobs due to COVID-19, there is still a silver lining there for the gaming industry.
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