The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all industries in multiple ways and the gaming industry is no different. And just like most industries, the gaming industry has evolved and stepped up to cope with new regulations and changes.
Gamers, streamers, gaming companies, and hardware manufacturers united together to level up the entire realm of gaming during the global pandemic.
In this article, we cover the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on the entire gaming community, game publishers, and the gaming hardware industry with the help of some interesting statistics. Let’s dive in.
Support from the gaming community
Due to the isolation resulting from social restrictions all over the world, many individuals faced mental health issues. According to a report by Statista, a survey conducted in Europe in 2020 brought to light that 51% of respondents felt that their mental health issues worsened during the pandemic. In the same survey, 57% of individuals reported a change in their mood that can be attributed to the COVID-19 restrictions.
The gaming community remained strong and supportive all through this. According to a report from a survey conducted in selected European countries in 2020, 26% of respondents stated that playing video games made them feel less isolated. A whopping 32% of the participants reported that playing video games has made them happier.
The mutual support within the gaming community during a time of crisis is commendable. Suffice to say, it has helped countless individuals improve their mental health and it is something you should keep in mind while playing on your gaming PC online with your friends and fellow gamers.
Now let’s take a look at the effect the pandemic has had on the number of gamers and the amount of time spent playing video games.
More gamers playing for longer durations
It is not surprising to find that the number of gamers and the amount of time spent playing multiplayer games have dramatically increased during the pandemic. According to a report, multiplayer gaming genres like fighting, MOBA, and battle royale have seen a 30%, 26%, and 24% increase in video game playtime. It goes to suggest how strong and supportive the gaming community was.
Another report showed that the rate of increase in gaming time was in double digits across all regions in the world. The maximum increase was in Latin America with a 52% increase and a global average of 39%. Video games were earlier considered as a hobby but they evolved to something more during the pandemic with over 3.24B gamers across the globe, concluded a report.
Now let’s take a look at how it affected the world of video game streaming.
Rise of streamers and viewers
As the number of options for leisurely activities was limited, many people joined streamers on various platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Gaming to kill time. According to a dossier from Statista, the global number of spectators rose from 944M in 2019 to 1.2B in 2020. The most popular streaming platform for gamers, Twitch, charted 1 trillion minutes of content watched in 2020 which was double the number in 2019. There were two primary reasons for this trend. One, it was a great way for people all over the world to enjoy a game together and gave an opportunity for both the streamers and their viewers to interact. Two, it is difficult for everyone to get a custom gaming PC or a console and join the fun. Streamers use tools that draw in viewers, like this twitch banner template, and this in turns helps others share in the fun of gaming!
The spike in the number of viewers was also characterized by the increase in the number of streamers. According to the same dossier, as of April 2021, the number of active streamers was 9.36M which was 3.9M in January 2020.
Now let’s take a look at how various game publishers capitalized on these trends.
Gaming sales and monetization
Game publishers and creators all over the world had to adapt to the new trends in the gaming world and also to the brutal restrictions brought in by the COVID-19 pandemic. The increase in the number of subscribers, the number of users of freemium games, and the number of gamers going for in-app purchases have increased. According to a report, in 2020 money spent on in-game transactions and downloads (downloadable content, also known as DLC) has increased by 12% and 21% respectively.
The COVID-19 pandemic is also one of the contributing factors that increased the percentage of digital revenue for most game publishers, states a report. In that report, game publisher CD Projekt revealed that 91% of group revenues for the Witcher series and Cyberpunk 2077 resulted from digital sales.
Now let’s take a look at the impact of the pandemic on the gaming hardware industry.
Impact on the gaming hardware industry
On the bright side, the rise in demands of gaming PCs and monitors has shown bright signs. According to a report by the International Data Corporation (IDC), the compound annual growth rates for gaming PCs and monitors are 4.8% and 13.2% respectively. As explained by the IDC group VP Ryan Keith, the spike in demands could be attributed to more people spending more time in front of their screens.
On the other hand, events like the global chip shortage due to the shutting down of factories in Taiwan, increased demand from other industries, and a spike in the number of crypto miners have resulted in a huge shortage of processors and GPUs. Products like the NVIDIA RTX 3090 were out of stock only a few minutes after they were launched. This shortage has also increased the number of scalpers and hoarders due to which NVIDIA decided to manually review each order, slowing the process even further.
Another huge reason the gaming hardware industry was because the global supply chain was shot. Deliveries were delayed because products were stuck in transit. Other causes like layoffs and staff shortages played into contributing to decreased supply.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a variety of effects on the gaming industry. In most cases, the gaming industry has found quick, effective, and reliable ways to overcome the new challenges. With factories opening up and people getting vaccinated, we all can look forward to a bright morning for all the gamers.