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By Kendall Jenkins on 2020-09-24 09:40:00

Ever since the global lockdown, people who normally went to work, school, or travelled became homebound. This leads to many looking for new and innovative ways to spend their free time finding ways to interact with one another during self-isolation. 

Among many indoor activities, gaming platforms were one of the most affected. The industry has experienced an unprecedented boom in online users, downloads, and streaming as people seek entertainment during stay-at-home orders. For instance, Verizon reported that video game traffic went up 75% during its peak hours within the pandemic’s first week.

What has changed in the video game world since the beginning of the year? Jacek Micha?ski, an expert in the world of casino online, explains what’s happening to the gaming industry during the pandemic. 

Video Game Sales And Services Increase

Of course, there would be an increase of people playing video games during the lockdown, but how much? The NPD Group reported that video game sales in North America went up 34% in March 2020, 63% more in video game hardware. That’s twice the number of units of the Nintendo Switch console alone despite the lowered hardware production. Overall, hardware, software, and accessories sales in June have reached its highest point in the past decade. 

It’s not just gaming companies, either. According to Streamlabs, platforms like Twitch, YouTube Gaming, and Facebook Gaming experienced a 20% increase in usage.  

Delayed Releases

Many 2020 releases were put on hold. Many anticipated titles, including Minecraft Dungeons, Death Stranding for PC, and The Last of Us Part II, were delayed by a month from their summer launch date. 

Other games such as Harvest Moon: One World and Halo Infinite were pushed back to next year. Many of these delays are due to the pandemic itself and remote working conditions. 

Most Popular Games During The Pandemic

So what games are taking the spotlight during the lockdown? Here are the most popular titles you’ll come across this year. 

Plague Inc. 

Amazingly enough, the 2012 mobile game Plague Inc. became one of the top paid apps, surpassing Minecraft. Plague Inc. is a strategy game that simulates the spread of a pathogen with the goal of infecting the world. Its success led to  the addition of a new game mode that challenges you to stop the outbreak, as well as a quarter-million donation to fund COVID-19 relief. 


Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is part of a Nintendo simulation series by the same name. It’s a wholesome game that allows players to live a peaceful life of designing their own island, fishing, stargazing, or having a friend over tea. There’s no boss, main goal, or extrinsic rewards - only you and your oasis. 

Fall Guys

This bubbly battle royale dominated Steam and Twitch, attracting over 1.5 million players on the first day of its release this year. Developed by Mediatonic and published by Devolver Digital, this game pits up to 60 players against each other to race to the finish line. Jumping, grab or dive your way across s 3D map as you fight to be the last player standing. 

Among Us

Among Us is a multiplayer social deduction game. It takes place in a space-themed setting where 4 to 10 players must work together to find an imposter.   

With nearly 31 million hours watched during August, Among Us became an overnight success due to its streamability. Despite being released in 2018, almost 500 channels have played it in the past month, according to TwitchTracker. 

Highly Anticipated Events Are Cancelled, Postponed, Or Live Streamed

While people spend the outbreak gaming, many new and seasoned gamers looked forward to this year’s new events and releases. To prioritize safety and combat against the spread of COVID-19, many game-focused gatherings such as esport competitions and the Minecraft festival needed to be cancelled. This led to many developers to turn to live streaming to keep the annual events alive. 

For instance, E3, North America’s biggest gaming conference, was replaced with a series of live streams, videos, and other online alternatives to get their big announcements out. It became known as Summer Game Fest, a digital-only, multi-month event to celebrate new releases. Now old and new gamers can stay safe, practice social distancing, and keep up with the latest gaming industry news on many digital platforms

The Thriving Video Game Industry

While the future of the video game is uncertain, the video game industry was one of the few to thrive in a stagnant economy. The pandemic was a perfect storm to introduce gaming to a larger fanbase, new platforms, and innovative ways to reach their audience. What was once considered a pastime for many had become a valuable source of social interaction and entertainment. 


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