Impact of Covid-19 on the Online Gaming Industry – Experts Insights on this Outbreak

Covid-19 has been the hottest topic of the year. It has not only impacted the lives of the people across the globe but has also hit the global civilization badly. 

All the major countries like India, China, Italy, New Zealand etc. implemented mass quarantines and the government of the countries adopted preventive measures to control the widespread of this disease.

The New York Times states that in three weeks time Covid-19 has pushed 16 million Americans out of work. 

Amidst this Corona pandemic, the industries severely affected are:

Industries that were most affected by Covid-19

Source: Probability of Default Model Market Signals, S&P Global Market Intelligence, March 31, 2020. For illustrative purposes only.

 

Well, as they say, there are two sides of a coin and among all these industries online gaming industry is the one which had a good fortune. 

The gaming industry boomed as people found ways to keep themselves entertained and busy.

How Online Gaming has made profits during Covid-19:

  • Enhanced user engagement with online games, video games and esports. 
  • The companies are launching new games as per the increased gaming trends.
  • All the multiplayer online games have seen a spike of up to 30% during the lockdown.

“Besides the difficult times where almost the whole population of the world was bound to stay at their homes, the gaming industry saw a huge spike in the average gaming duration for gamers from 1.5 hours to 3 hours.”, highlights Rameez of PureVPN.

According to Gareth Harry, Founder Zygo Media, “With sports being called off globally, people turned to a method of entertainment that was rather unconventional for most. Through our work with some of the most prolific streamers on the planet, we have seen double-digit increases in viewership and consumption across a lot of major titles.” 

This is their personal experiences with their brands. Let’s talk about the ground reality. 

As we all know that Italy was one of the most affected countries by this virus and had been in lockdown for the longest. Thus, games were played at record levels when people were staying indoors. Italy’s digital game sales increased and around 4.3 million games were sold during March.

 “In France, digital downloading increased by more than 180% during lockdown week” claims gamesindustry.biz.

This upsurge in stats is all because of the technology advancement and availability of 5G, AR, VR and cloud gaming. It played a vital role in bridging the gap and made it easy for everybody to stay entertained, despite being locked up. 

While people were killing time staying indoors, gaming space witnessed a drastic growth. 

Many top gaming companies have tripled their revenue and have reported a surge in sales. Mobile games such as Call of Duty Mobile, PUBG Mobile, Fortnite are scoring high in trending charts.

Talking about the growth, Janelle Grai shared an interesting data of Bunch, an app that lets friends hangout via video while playing their favourite multiplayer mobile games.

Bunch reported 35x since the beginning of March.

  • App Downloads and usage increased.
  • Users spent 1.5 million minutes a day on the app.
  • On average people play more than 2 games at every Bunch party.
  • The audience expanded from Generation Z (14-16-year-olds) gamers to a more millennial and mainstream audience.
  • The average user base age of the Bunch was 14 years old, now it is 23 years old.
  • Before March’20, the audience was 52% male, now 61% of the female is using their app.

This is not just one case. A lot of multiplayer PC gaming companies including some of the mobile gaming companies are facing challenges to maintain the traffic and load on their servers.

What factors led people to play online games?

Now, when people were stuck at their homes, everyone tried to find ways to pass their time and for most of them, it was playing online games.

Some people played games as a means of social activity while some played to keep the boredom aside.

If we talk about statistics, according to newzoo, 17% of people played games as a means to get social, 16% of people played to escape the current situation and keep themselves busy.

Not only this, but 15% of players were also recorded who played games just because their home situation got changed, and the other 15% were those who followed their friends and family.

What types of games were people playing?

The game genres that witnessed the maximum amount of user base were:

  • Shooters
  • Gambling Games
  • Deck-Building Games
  • Arcade Games
  • Platformers
  • Battle Royale

Adrian from RENTCafe.com surveyed 4,750 adults and here are some of the highlights:

  • Gaming time increased by 60%, from 5h20m to 8h30m a week during the lockdown. Gen X-ers increased their game-time the most, by 74%, getting closer to matching Gen Z’s 8.7 hours.
  • FPS games were the main choice among the respondents, played mostly by Gen Z and Millennials. Casual single-player games, such as Candy Crush and Casino-type games, were preferred by Gen X-ers and Baby Boomers, boosting their popularity to second place.
  • The gamers they surveyed declared Call of Duty the most popular game during the lockdown, a top choice among 4 of the generations (all but Baby Boomers), leaving Fortnite behind in 3rd place. A real surprise was Animal Crossing, which claimed the 2nd spot in people’s preferences, despite its fairly recent launch. 
  • 72% confirmed they spent money on gaming during this time. The biggest spenders were young Millennials, 81% of them having spent money on gaming during this time, while 68% of those aged over 56 didn’t spend a dime. 

 

Here’s what Marketers have to say about the gaming trends

“At the height of COVID, we saw traffic increase by over 200%, surpassing November and Christmas levels. This resulted in a 120% increase in sales despite rankings staying relatively the same. While the increase has slowly tapered off, there is still very high demand” says. Colin, Marketing Manager PC Game Haven

Among countries like the USA, China, Italy and Japan, India has the maximum smartphone users and thus it generated 966 million downloads in April. 

Aaina Bajaj, Digital Marketing Specialist, Tambola Bingo App says, “ As we were targeting India, our App downloads increased tremendously during the first week of lockdown. 

From 10 users a day to 1800 users a day, the growth was exponentially high. We recorded a 200% increase in download rate. 

Statistics of Tambola Bingo Housie Game showing Traffic Growth:

Top Trending Mobile Games with Maximum Downloads & Revenue:

Generally, the gaming giants witness growth in the revenue in March as compared to April. 

But this year has been an exception. The growth in April was way more than March and broke all the previous records. 

Co-Founder, Sizzle.gg, Vijay Koduri says, “When you look at the gaming viewing market in Covid-19, which roughly equates to Q2 2020, the numbers are staggering. 

For instance, in 2019, Twitch streamed a total of 356M hours, but in Q2 2020 alone, they streamed 193M hours.  Compared to Q2 of 2019, when they streamed 90M hours, that is 115% growth!”

Statistics of Top Mobile Games that generated the Highest Revenue Globally (April 2020)

Source: Sensortower.com

Statistics of Top Mobile Games that received the Maximum Downloads Globally (April 2020)

Source: Sensortower.com

Conclusion:

Online Games has been a saviour and helped everyone through these tough times. It has been possible only because of designers and developers all around the world, who were working remotely, writing codes and building levels. 

“This year the mobile games market globally will generate revenues of $77.2 billion, representing a growth of +13.3% year-on-year.” Source-NewZoo.com

The large corporations are all set to launch new games, entertain the gamers and make profits in the current gaming world.