According to an editorial piece published on the New York Times, the coronavirus pandemic has been quite a boon for the video games industry, as most people have been told to self isolate in a bid to curb the spread and flatten the curve. With nothing better to do, people are finding solace in video games.
For example, games such as Doom Eternal and Animal Crossing, which launched during the most opportune time, saw record sales. Video gaming streaming sites meanwhile saw a spike in viewership, where for example, between the fourth quarter of 2019 and first quarter of 2020, Twitch saw more than 3bn hours watched for the first time.
Mat Piscatella, an analyst at the NPD Group, had the following to say:
“Gaming is one of those areas that people are diverting to from other activities that they would have done in a normal world. The game sales that are coming out are breaking franchise records.”
Behind the scenes however, developers are struggling. For example, Sony announced early April 2020 that it is delaying The Last of Us: Part II from 29 May 2020 to an unspecified date. Naughty Dog said the delay is due to challenges in printing, shipping and selling physical copies of games as a whole.
As factories are shut down, distribution pipelines disrupted and retailers working at lower capacity, Sony has expressed concerned that sales would be affected. The company of course has another concern on its hands, since it plans to launch a new console sometime soon, but with the ongoing crisis, one would wonder if it will also be pushing plans back for the release of the Playstation 5.
Nobody knows what the future will hold for the industry, so let us just hope for the best and weather out the storm the best we can while clearing that backlog of games.