The pandemic has had an extensive impact on almost every industry in the world and gaming is no exception. While other industries suffered disruption, the gaming industry boomed as people sought ways to keep themselves occupied since travel was restricted. COVID-19 and lockdown in India has resulted in a significant push in traffic on gaming apps and websites. Ludo King, PUBG Mobile, Clash of Clans and Teen Patti are some of the most popular online games that have gained a considerable hike in playtime. Moreover, a large number of people have been registering to join online gaming platforms during the lockdown.  A significant surge has also been observed in the quantum of mobile game downloads starting from April where it was 75% higher in one particular week as compared to previous quarter’s weekly average. As offline tournaments came to a halt due to Covid 19, e sports gained popularity and the companies shifted to online format gaming tournaments. In Kerala, the state government launched a Covid themed mobile game in April to increase awareness about the pandemic.

Coronavirus has led to disruption in operations and revenue of most of the country’s industrial sectors yet it has created an array of opportunities in the gaming industry. This industry could soon gain importance as a mainstream industry in light of the immense exposure which e sports, video and mobile games have gained during the pandemic; and its rising popularity would in turn lead to the government recognizing the industry’s potential.

Globally, majorly the mobile gaming platforms have witnessed 23% growth as compared to 2019 because nowadays almost everyone has access to smartphones and app stores and even the audiences who normally do not play games were searching for new forms of entertainment. The gaming sales volume traditionally experiences a decline after the holiday season in December but 2020, due to the pandemic effect, surpassed those sales figures.

“Since the start of the outbreak, we have seen rises in certain categories including mobile gaming. Within games, we have seen some titles with a 10% uplift in organic impressions and installs and others closer to 60%. Because users are staying at home and downloading more games, the increase in volume is having a positive feedback loop with the algorithm of the app stores.”- Dave Bell, Co-Founder and CEO at Gummicube.

“The turnover of transactions made on DMarket, an in-game items trading platform, increased by 70% throughout February-March 2020, compared to December 2019 alone. It is also observed more users from the USA, China, Italy, France, UK, and Germany. This came with a large increase of mobile users seen trading across the platform, up 65%+ over the last 30 days. It follows key marketing trends to push users online as efforts become directed towards mobile users. This is currently the most fast-growing market in the gaming industry. People are sitting at home and not only using games as a play but also finding them as ways to communicate, as social media basically. I believe that the coronavirus could increase the time people spend playing games daily by at least 20%. Mostly, mobile games.”- Vlad Panchenko, CEO and Founder of DMarket.

2020 Global Games Market  

source: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/05/covid-19-taking-gaming-and-esports-next-level/

During the lockdown, as more people are engaged in playing or streaming video games, the in-game purchases and transactions (including subscriptions) have considerably spiked resulting in profits for the game publishers and also the consumers have shifted to digital platforms for game software purchases.

As the people are stuck in their houses, the need to socialize has led to a spurt in gaming consumption and gaming content streaming as these services, to an extent, aid in fulfilling social requisites and platforms like Twitch, Mixer, and YouTube gaming are witnessing double the traffic as gamers and other users are consuming increased content. This concept of online socializing and interaction while gaming has benefitted users globally during such isolation and crisis as it acts as a medium of escape from the existing situation. Moreover, the people can safely stay connected to their loved ones through a virtual gaming world as social contact is restricted. The #PlayApartTogether campaign launched in partnership with the WHO promotes safe and healthy social distancing and is an excellent example of how virtual gaming could play its part in helping the overall community in addition to serving as a source of leisure.

“All this free time has allowed for more users to connect and explore different gaming platforms that are available and boosted the use of multiple sources/ providers. With the unknown future, predictions for the gaming industry are expected to rise with desire and usage across the board.”- Matthew Lyons, Director of Content at Game Gavel.

Analyzing the current pandemic situation, the gaming industry is expected to continue a rising growth trend as more people are staying confined to their homes and hence the user’s time and money dedicated to gaming will indeed increase. The post pandemic world of gaming could experience a consistent flow of new competitors and publishers. Moving forward, the increased 5G penetration would further propel online game streaming services as cloud computing and quick internet speeds would increase accessibility from user point of view and the telecom companies would soon rollout 5G plans in the wake of the current situation.


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