Since March last year, several countries around the world have been imposing lockdowns intermittently. Besides, private organizations have also resorted to remote working.
As a result of all the confinement, an increase in time spent online has been registered. According to a report, people now spend 12 times more than the time they spent online before the pandemic.
What’s more surprising is that despite all the economic disruption, the gaming industry thrived through this recent recession. And we can possibly think of the apparent reasons for it – people need a distraction.
How Covid-19 Influenced This Trend
During the first half of 2020, Microsoft reported a 130% increase in multiplayer engagement. According to a report by The Washington Post, Microsoft’s Game Pass subscribers passed 10 million in April 2020.
Apart from Microsoft, other players, including Nintendo and Tencent, also recorded an increase in sales during the first quarter. While Nintendo recorded around 41% increase in profits, Tencent recorded a 31% increase in year-on-year revenue.
What’s more interesting is the fact that it’s not only these console-based games but others who have thrived too. For instance, browser-based free games also received an increased engagement. Since these are easy to play and do not require any special equipment, their popularity seemingly increased at an exponential rate.
In a nutshell, the gaming industry reached $1.6 billion during March last year – a 35% year-over-year increase.
The Gaming Business Is Changing
Evidently, the gaming industry has experienced an unprecedented increase in fan base and revenues. What’s noteworthy is that Asia-Pacific is the biggest market for online gaming. It amounts to almost 50% of the total gaming market in value.
Since gaming revenues depend on consumer spending, the business models are evolving for a better user experience. While the early gaming industry followed – game as a product – model, things are different now. Instead of generating revenue through single fee payments, the gaming industry is now offering subscriptions. Besides, there are in-game purchases too.
For instance, Roblox games use a digital currency, also known as Robux. The platform is like a sandbox where gamers can create their own games. Invite friends over to play and earn more Roblox. Further, the Roblox units can be used to make in-game purchases or even sold for cash. Pretty cool, huh!
Other Games That Were Impacted By Covid-19
The video gaming industry is the market leader when it comes to online gaming. However, the industry is not the only contender under the umbrella. Many other gaming industries initiated and witnessed growth during the pandemic.
Let’s take a look at some of the other gaming trends.
Online Casino And Gambling
Since most of the brick and mortar gaming venues remained closed to prevent the spread of the virus, online casino gaming and fantasy sports betting also experienced tremendous growth.
The United Kingdom has emerged as one of the biggest bases for online bettors and casino players. According to a report, a 25% and 38% increase in players for online slots and poker, respectively, was recorded last year. Also, a 30% increase was reported in fantasy sports betting during the first months of the pandemic.
Professional E-Sports Experienced A Slump
While the overall gaming industry seems to be booming, it is not entirely immune to the attacks of the virus. For instance, esports, which takes the form of organized, professional gaming arenas, experienced a downfall.
Most esports events were either canceled or postponed due to the pandemic. And the few that are still being hosted do not receive any audience footfall. As a result, the revenue generation for this particular niche in the gaming industry slumped steeply.
Mobile Audience Is Growing Rapidly
The mobile gaming arena has the least entry barriers for both new and seasoned players. This is possibly the reason that this particular gaming trend witnessed a record-breaking user growth.
Statistically speaking, 44.85% of the world’s population owns a smartphone. As a result, the game developers can target more audiences with fewer resources. Besides, most mobile titles are free to play, allowing mobile gamers to enjoy their time from any location, which is impossible with consoles or pc gaming.
PC And Console Gaming Is Still Growing
Although mobile gaming is set to see more growth, it still cannot outcast the PC and console gaming market. Console and game development companies are constantly coming up with newer generations.
Besides, integrating AI and VR into console and PC gaming is offering an unmatched user experience. Players can connect with other peers and competitors virtually, from anywhere. And even experience real-like stimuli during their gameplay.
What Future Holds For Gaming Industry
Till now, the gaming experience is primarily driven by hardware technology. However, developers and designers are already looking forward to breaking these barriers. For instance, cloud gaming is a relatively new concept that is gaining a lot of traction lately.
Eliminating the need for complex hardware, cloud gaming promises a good user experience with a basic machine. All that would be needed is a stable and fast internet connection. The rest of the gaming hardware needs would be fulfilled by the cloud network.
Notably, the concept is already hugely popular in developed nations like the UK and the US. Reports suggest that the global cloud gaming market could reach up to $3.17 billion by 2024 in net worth.
Looking At The Long-Term Transformation
Although the recent surge in gaming indicates several future transformations for this thriving industry, some noticeable setbacks need to be set right. For instance, developers and designers need to come up with a more sophisticated delivery network. The problems that the esports and PC or Console gaming industries faced, need to be overcome.
However, the industry still looks promising, and the gaming community should continue to engage with different titles and competitions. The post-pandemic world looks steady and comforting for both – gaming developers and players. Let’s wait and watch what the post-pandemic world has in stores for the gaming industry, apart from these predictions. Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.