Could a second lockdown change gaming forever?
Gaming has seen a huge boost this year, with millions of people having to stay at home to slow the spread of COVID-19. With many spending more time indoors, it comes as no surprise that the sales and hours played on console games has increased dramatically. Let’s take a look at how the pandemic is affecting the industry now, and with further restrictions on the horizon, how this changes things moving forward.
What happened to the gaming giants in the last phase of lockdown? Activision, the company behind the Call of Duty series, say they saw record numbers online during the first lockdown period. A jaw-dropping 407 million people played the game monthly, almost a 20% increase on the previous year’s figures.
Activision Blizzard said the use of its World of Warcraft and Overwatch games had continued to increase. With the company’s net revenue of second-quarter digital channels rising from $1.09 billion in 2019 to $1.59 billion in 2020.
They weren’t alone, either. Game developers, EA Sports, said its net income had more than doubled to $1.4bn in the first three months of this year.
But what does this mean for the gaming industry?
According to a new study by Simon Kucher, gamers are forking out 39% more cash during the lockdown. Further to that, expected to splash out a further 21% above what they would usually in a ‘post-pandemic’ era.
Does it seem to be looking up then? Whilst profits do appear to be on the rise, thanks to game sales and in-game purchases. Multiple developers are reporting that production sadly, is on the decline. An estimated 33% of game developers, surveyed by the Game Developers Conference, stated that COVID-19 had caused a delay in the production of future releases. Thanks to social distancing measures and remote working conditions.
Stresses are running high following the recent news that Cyberpunk 2077 has been delayed, for the third time. Frustrating as it might be at present, if we can overcome the pushbacks, giving developers the time they need to finish their craft, it does look to be a prosperous future for the gaming community.
After sifting through numerous tweets and articles on the topic, it would appear even the games’ social team weren’t aware of the delay the last minute. Eager fans who have waited years to find out what the Cyberpunk world would look like have been left frustrated, once again. A developer for CD Projekt Red posted some of the hate mail they were receiving on Twitter last week. Combined with the stress of the delay, we can only imagine how much pressure they must be under.
Our best wishes go out to the team at CD Projekt Red. Like most, we are brimming with excitement to experience the game when it’s ready!
The UK is now facing its second national lockdown. With the restrictions set to ease on December 2nd, around the time Sony and Xbox are due to release their latest consoles.
For those of us who have placed pre-orders, the next-generation consoles may suffer delayed shipping. As couriers start to feel the pressure again from higher volumes of online sales. Hopefully, they are better prepared this time around.
Customers living in other European countries, also facing national lockdowns, have been able to call stores to select a designated time slot for their collection. Companies like Curry’s Digital and GAME may allow collection purchases, to be transferred to home-delivery. We have our fingers, and toes crossed!
Is gaming a lockdown solution?
We believe that gaming and Esports is the most accepting and inclusive way to experience life in lockdown. With in-game events and scenarios providing the closest feeling to real-life decision making. It gives gamers the ability to be part of a community. Whether that be watching your favourite twitch streamer or playing the latest release online.
Being one of the most accessible platforms to our population, we believe the sector will continue to grow year on year, even more so with lockdowns. As we push through the generations; ‘Millennial’, ‘Gen Z’ and even ‘Generation Alpha’, we firmly believe there has been and will continue to be a digital shift. In the way, we purchase products, but also the way we communicate.
Lockdowns could just be speeding up the process. With a small amount of patience ensued, the future of the gaming industry is looking bright. A Stephen Spielberg style ‘Ready Player One’ world feels more like reality than ever right now. With another lockdown looming – is it such a bad thing?
Gaming provides the most immersive experience possible from the safety of our homes. Let’s come together as a community and make the next-generation digital world become a reality. As soon as possible.