Video gaming industry demand surges in COVID-19 era. What’s next?

May 6, 2020
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Ecommpay Head of salesforce division
Vladimir Polyakov
Vladimir Polakov
Head of salesforce division

The COVID-19 pandemic has focused people's attention on online services. Industries from entertainment to delivery are seeing explosive growth. The video gaming industry is embracing these new realities. Families are even holding their traditional family gaming nights online. These trends might continue well after the panic has subsided.

What’s happening with video gaming? Is COVID-19 set to change the online gaming industry? Let’s talk about the changes happening in the video gaming world. The massive shift that is on it's way.

Every two weeks, we’ll ask our experts to share their opinions on #Fintech. Vladimir Polakov, ECOMMPAY’s Sales Force Division Head, offers insight. How COVID-19 is creating a surge in demand? Precisely in video gaming industry.

The video gaming industry is becoming more social

The big advantage over streaming services is the social aspect of gaming. Video gaming online is one way people can connect with each other. Streaming services offer consumable content on-demand. Viewers can discuss it with their friends later but can’t interact live.

Gaming offers the opportunity to connect to others. Families and friends are turning to online platforms to connect. In some cases, they are reconnecting with each other! These are the facts about video games in 2020!

One example of this is Eve Online. Eve Online is a Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG). Hilmar Pétursson, CEO of CCP Games, which developed Eve Online, spoke to the BBC about this.

Here are some video game industry statistics.

Petursson said that new accounts on their platform have jumped from 7,000 a day to 11,000 a day in March 2020. This increase coincided with the COVID-19 lockdown in Spain. Petursson says this is partly due to the game’s social features. Eve Online is a game that requires teamwork and feedback from other players.

New promotional tactics

Video gaming is leveraging its unique positioning in this crisis. Developers are using in-game promotions and events to keep users engaged.

Case in point: GTArcade, popular browser fighting games. Including one based on HBO’s Game of Thrones. GTArcade has offered a daily in-game free give away during the entire pandemic. This “help pack” shows solidarity with its community during the crisis. It also keeps its millions of players’ eyeballs on its platform. Some developers are using even more innovative tactics.

Another example?

Epic Games, the developer of the popular Fortnite.

Epic recently announced an in-game concert performed by rapper Travis Scott. Scott played a concert in-game to over 12 million players. He also debuted a new song in cooperation with Kid Kudi. Over three million players watched via streaming services like Twitch and YouTube. These types of events are attracting new players to the platforms. Let's see how.

New players joining the platforms

How many people play video games in the world? It’s difficult to estimate, but we can say that it’s growing fast! Steam, the 17-year-old game selling platform, is also seeing tremendous growth. It recorded over 23m active users. The highest ever in its history. Titles on Steam include the hit console game Grand Theft Auto. They also offer board game style games.

The growth equates to about a 15% surge in demand in a two week period. According to Tomas Otterbeck at Redeye AB, an investment bank. However, industry expert Daniel Ahmad points out that the surge isn’t just on Steam. Demand for Sony’s Playstation and Microsoft’s Xbox Live services has also swelled. Compared to the pre-COVID-19 crisis numbers.

Game streaming growth

It’s not just actual gameplay that’s growing. Game streaming services, where users can watch others play games, have also surged. Twitch, a streaming service, that many gamers use to watch their favorite heroes. It has seen a 24% increase, according to Upfluence, between February 15th and March 22nd, 2020.

Between March 8th and March 22nd, users watched over 43 million hours of gameplay. This is up from 33 million a year earlier, according to The Verge. Of course, Twitch isn’t just for video gaming now, and video game demographics are shifting.Many popular musicians and artists joined the platform after their tours were canceled.

Facebook is also investing in the game streaming arena to counter the Amazon owed Twitch. Facebook has invested heavily in video gaming for many years. Facebook Gaming, the platform’s video gaming division, saw an increase of 210% in 2018. However, Facebook lags behind Twitch and Youtube for streaming. This is despite some high profile partnerships. What will future video game industry partnerships look like? Time will tell, but the growth is now.

The video gaming industry surge is real, and whether the video gaming industry is able to sustain this surge will determine how consumer preferences are formed for years to come.

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