Although the spread of COVID-19 and related lockdowns introduced by the governments globally have hurt many businesses, the gaming sector has fared well from the start, offering much sought for home-based entertainment and ways for people to connect remotely through online games.
While shutdowns are badly impacting live sports and movie-going, the global gaming industry is dominating other entertainment mediums in revenue and profit terms. The global video game market revenues in 2020 outstripped the revenues of any other entertainment sector by far. All of the top industry players recorded sales and profit growth in 2020, with the biggest winner Nintendo increasing its profit by over 50% year-on-year.
The implementation of lockdowns and social distancing practices has greatly reduced consumer and business activities. As people are largely stuck at home, they have more time to play video games, which, along with entertainment benefits, also provides an engaging distraction and opportunity to interact socially.
The consequence of COVID-19 for gaming has been a massive enlargement of the audience available to game publishers. Bandwidth, mobile internet and cloud services expansion has made high-quality games more accessible across various devices and platforms. Cutting edge gaming technology has helped boost user engagement with video games, as they become an increasingly more appealing alternative to movies and sports with their fun interactive narratives and competitive edge.
The COVID -related gaming surge could be the catalyst for a series of strong growth years. While there has always been a die-hard, steady audience for online multi-player games, the recent influx of new gamers may be more durable. New habits are being formed, as the beginners get exposed to the social communities inherent in today’s online multi-player games. As they build relationships with others inside these virtual worlds, it creates the foundations for long-term adhesion to the hobby, even in the post- COVID world.