The Impact Of COVID-19 On Video Gaming

Video games consumption rises amid COVID-19 outbreak

As the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak continues to spread and to influence almost every aspect of our everyday lives, many are turning to video games to pass time during self-isolation. 

Many countries have introduced martial law and as people are practically stuck at home, millions are looking for social distancing-friendly activities to keep them entertained during the quarantine. 

According to Google’s COVID-19 Community Mobility Report, retail and recreation mobility trends (restaurants, cafes, museums) have seen a 76% decline compared to the median value. Grocery & pharmacy, parks, transit stations, workplaces have also seen a substantial decline whereas residential mobility trends have seen a 20% rise. 

Malta Covid Response
What Google's data reveals about Malta's coronavirus response

The (self)imposed quarantine measures have undoubtedly caused an increase in consumer playtime and money spent on video games. In other words, people are spending more time playing video games during quarantine and isolation. According to Verizon, the network has seen a 75% increase in gaming traffic over the last week. 

The increase in gaming can also be seen on Steam, since the popular digital PC gaming marketplace has reached 20,313,451 users, drawing a new record.

Coronavirus impact on esports

As far as esports go, several large-scale esports events have been cancelled, some are postponed and some are held without audiences. A negative impact on revenue from sponsorship and media rights is not expected since most of the deals were finalized before the outbreak. 

The cancelled CS:GO tournament, Intel Extreme Masters in Katowice peaked in viewership, reaching over one million viewers, making it one of the most watched tournaments in esports history. 

Floriana FC Michael Owen Mizu Micallef at Match Day 2
IEM Katowice 2020 with no Audience at the Venue

The virus outbreak has seen 18 video game companies, including the streaming platform Twitch and Activision Blizzard encouraging players to resort to video games as a means of maintaining a physical distance. The #PlayApartTogether initiative is also supported by the World Health Organization

Commenting on the campaign, Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, said: “It’s never been more critical to ensure people stay safely connected to one another. Games are the perfect platform because they connect people through the lens of joy, purpose and meaning. We are proud to participate in such a worthwhile and necessary initiative.”

However, as there is an increase in gaming, it is expected that the launch of Sony and Microsoft next-gen consoles will be delayed, due to supply chain disruptions, as the manufacturing of game, hardware has already been impacted. 

Events such as GDC and E3 have already been cancelled, but the cancellations are not expected to leave a mark on the bottom-line revenues of developers and publishers. 

Posted by Kurt Aquilina on 17th April 2020, 14:06

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