With the spread of Civid-19 Novel Coronavirus, every industry is being affected by this epidemic and the gaming industry is no exception. Though it would be too early to predict the overall impact of this pandemic on any sector, the reports arising out in public and the data being released by multiple firms speak a lot in this regard.
For instance, the Mobile World Congress and Taipei Game Show have already been cancelled amid the spread of the disease and the speculations that the public gatherings are major drivers in the spread of Covid-19. Besides, the possibilities are that the production unit may also delay the release of some major units already in the pipeline.
Change in lifestyle
One thing is clear, the post-Covid-19 world will be a completely different world. A world where people will will require from innovations to cope with any future threat like that; A world where populations will fear from themselves for many year to come and even family reunions will might be through digital media rather than direct meeting. This is how the disease is likely to affect the gaming community too: the seminars, conferences and gaming shows may be arranged online through multimedia websites like Twitch, whose subscribers and online users have increased more than 20 since the last month.
Delays in Production and Delivery
Delays in the production and delivery of gaming products have already been seen in most of the cases due to the drastic spread of the diseases. Multiple productions have either reduced their production from the minimum threshold level, or they have complete shut down their production units, especially those which are based in China.
This has resulted in delays in the delivery of gaming products. No doubt the sales of the digital media, such as the video games, has increased two-folds according to some news. The manufacturing, supply chain and delivery of hardware has greatly been affected by this pandemic which is indirectly creating loss of jobs and unemployment issues in this sector too.
Events impacted by COVID-19:
Extreme cautions are being exercised by Microsoft, and the company is planning to make all event digital only for the fiscal year 2021.Microsoft
The COD League will make a come back on April 10th 2020. Though the contest will have the same format are they were already, they will be held online only.COD Official Website
After consultation with partners, Visitors Bureau, Atlanta Center, Georgia World Congress the Momocon 2020 has been cancelled. The event will now take place on 27th-30th May 2021.Momcon official website
USC Games Expo will now proceed a digital on original dates of 11th-12th May 2020. The director remarked, “Our students are the next generation of game design talent, and our virtual expo is a chance for interested industry professionals, prospective students, scholars, faculty and the general public to experience their never-before-seen projects.”USC Games Expo
BAFTA has also unveiled told that the British Academy Games Awards will now be held online on the evening of April 1st.BAFTA Official Website
Many such news are emerging since the disease broke out and the mixed response is seen from the gaming community who are worried about the losses and multiple issues being face by them; as well as happy because they are now more involved in the gaming due to the forced-holidays across the world and the US in particular.
The Covid-19 has also proved to be a blessing in disguise in some ways as the people confined in the walls of their homes amid the lockdown are playing games far more than expected. The AppAnnie in its report has revealed that there has been a strong growth in the downloads of mobile games in covid-19 affected regions
In-home media consumption among internet user
A global survey by conducted by GlobalWebIndex in March 2020 reported that due to the spread of Covis-19, out of all the users staying at home, the 35% respondents professing to have read book, listened to audiobooks, and 18% having listened to radio. Besides, more than 40% respondents spent their time in text messaging on social media.
Increased media device usage
According to the Online survey, the impact on media usage largely varied depending on the type of the device, and age group. However, the survey revealed that 56% of Gen Z internet users used their laptop more frequently due to the outbreak of the pandemic. The data further showed that the Laptop and PC users remained the same, while the smartphone or mobile phone use increased substantially.
Weekly increase in data usage in the United States
With the continuous spread of the disease and the Advise of the President of the United States to the residents to #stayhome, and self isolate themselves the trend in online data usage has increased dramatically. The rapid increase has been seen in traffic has been registered in online gaming. The reason behind this surge is that the gaming is the most common and loved hobby that everybody can do while he is at home.
Surprisingly, the social media, web traffic, and streaming have shown a slight increase in their traffic.
Increase in Sales
The biggest threat to the entire humanity has given some potential benefits to the entertainment industry, especially the gaming industry. Although cinemas, theaters, and expos have been closed due to the threat of the Covid-19 spread, the gaming industry on the other hand has registered an exponential increase in the sale of its gaming products. As of online survey, there was the sale of 1.58 million physical game titles from March 16 to March 22 which is more than 80% from the last week.
Besides, the surge in sales was also due to the in-time release of many new titles such as DOOM: Eternal, Animal Crossing:New Horizons. The trends suggests that many people in home are turning to the video gaming to keep themselves busy and entertained in the time of crisis.
Overall, there has been a twofold increase in the users of Paytm First Games as per statistics by the company, and they have seen a rise in 75,000 members.
“In the wake of the covid-19 outbreak, online gaming is picking up as a popular option for stay at home entertainment. We are seeing a significant uptick in downloads of our app and the time spent and engagement in our online games has also increased,” Sudhanshu Gupta, COO, Paytm First Games, said in a statement.
Besides, gaming sites like GamingExpert, PCGamesN, and GamerRadar+ has also reported an increase in their traffic since the pandemic rise. Mathew Bradford of GamingExpert told that they have seen a 30% increase in their traffic since the Covid-19 crossed the 1,00,000 patients. This rise was due to the fact, that more and more people were confined in their homes and searched for new games and gaming accessories.
There has been a 30% surge in the online traffic for WinZO Games on their platform in the last two weeks. “To cater to the growing demand, WinZO is offering games like PUBG Mobile and Garena’s Free Fire for free in an effort to support the audience with social gaming during the lockdown due to Corona pandemic,” said Saumya Singh Rathore, co-founder WinZO Games.
The rise in online traffic has been seen on smartphones. This is the reason the Appstore giants especially, Google Play Store and App Store have ensured public to provide maximum options available for them.
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Keeping in mind the spread potential of the Covid-19 pandemic, WHO has advised people to stay out of the public gathering. In its special message “stay home, stay safe” the organisation has also encouraged people to play video games, but not together, rather play apart and confirmed with the hashtag of global campaign #PlayApartTogether. The campaign is to encourage public and the gamers to follow WHO’s guidelines strictly.
The Way Forward
Following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, multiple abnormalities, and complications has surfaced, which needs to be taken seriously. This is the right time to deal with these problems. The game developers, the gaming enthusiasts, the gaming industry giants and the governments needs to show a collective response, not only against this disease, but also the future needs to prevent such disasters.
Right now here are certain things to be done at large:
- Avoid public gathering, not even your family union
- Wash your hands frequently for twenty seconds with a sanitizer or a soap.
- Before buying any gaming hardware, make sure the company is strictly following the sanitation guidelines by WHO
- The Video Gaming eCommerce websites should offer the games in bundle at the cheapest price to entertain public