In contrast to many other economic sectors that are drastically affected by the pandemic, the video game industry has generally been more resilient to the pandemic. Most video game developers and publishers have been able to maintain operations with employees working from home to sustain game development and digital releases, though as stay-at-home orders persisted, some productivity issues have arisen. Developers are still working to maintain their games, including post-launch content. Some have already taken advanced steps to ensure their teams would be able to operate from remote locations.
If you want to launch a video game, this is a very good time. If you follow this directive, you can save 40% or more compared to the cost of in-house development, if you work with our professional team.
The video games – a method of releasing stress during a pandemic
Millions of people are searching for social distancing-friendly activities to stay entertained during home quarantines. Video games can promote mental wellness by connecting people over a distance, providing communities where people feel a sense of belonging, and helping people recover from stress and anxiety.
Moreover, playing video games can improve mental health during the pandemic. Regan Mandryk, a University of Saskatchewan computer scientist says: “We have no control over what is going on in the world right now, and that’s causing people stress. Right now, as people are socially isolated, they are turning to games to self-manage their need for social contact. It’s about taking back control of our own well-being.”
How the COVID-19 lockdowns have boosted the video games company revenue
Generally, sales of video games have increased as a result of stay-at-home and lockdown orders from the pandemic, as people turn to video games as a pastime.
With many people globally at home and unable to work, online gaming has seen record numbers of players during the pandemic as a popular activity to counter social distancing, so revenues for many gaming companies and platforms have increased during the pandemic.
The pandemic is accelerating existing trends within the gaming industry. For example, Steam, the main digital storefront for personal computer video games saw over 23 million concurrent players during March 2020, surpassing all previous records, while the streaming service, Twitch saw over three billion hours of content watched over the first quarter of 2020, a 20% increase from the previous year’s. Microsoft reported a substantial increase in users of its Xbox Game Pass service in the months of March and April 2020 bringing it to over 10 million subscribers.
The video game usage during peak hours was up 75% since citizens were encouraged to participate in social distancing and self-isolation, according to a new Verizon report released on 17 March, that analyzes data usage habits. That’s compared to a 20 percent increase in web traffic and a 12 percent increase in video usage.
Data from Comcast that shows how new game downloads have increased by 80%, compared to a rise of ‘only’ 50% in total gaming downloads.
The gaming industry’s revenues far outstrip other entertainment sectors
Image: Newzoo Global Games Market Report
There have been also negative impacts on the industry, notably with major trade canceled or postponed which may have impacted relationships between the smaller developers and publishers. But these have been offset by the advantages and benefits mentioned above.
Long-term trends, beyond the pandemic
The greater interest in gaming may accelerate a shift – already underway – towards the delivery of games via mobile and cloud-based platforms. The industry clearly now sees potential in this distribution model. For example, Cloud gaming enables consumers to play streamed games across devices, often without the need for expensive hardware.
The second long-term trend is the widening of monetization avenues through subscription and free-to-play models. Subscriptions provide a reliable path to monetization for smaller, quality games. Meanwhile, free-to-play games allow developers to monetize without needing to convince consumers to make up-front purchases. Instead, they offer in-game upsell opportunities such as upgrades and expansion packs.
To take advantage of these trends, our Starloopian team can help you develop video games that give your games the experience they are looking for.
The pandemic has reminded video game companies and brands that there remains an addressable market of highly engaged consumers. COVID-19 is an example of how a “crisis” can turn into an opportunity and how it can push you towards development and innovation.
Because all the people’s activity has moved into their own homes and they dedicate more time to video games, it is wise to offer them what they are looking for: a method of relaxation through video games.