COVID 19 had a far-reaching impact on every aspect of people’s lives, from their work to their daily habits. Many industries suffered heavy losses under the effect of COVID 19. Lockdown was ensued to keep the spread of the virus under check, which troubled millions of people and their jobs. The attack of COVID 19 was so sudden that most of the working industries around the globe didn’t have any backup plan to tackle the impact. But unlike major workplaces and industries, the gaming fraternity thrived during the pandemic. Of course, there were occasional dips in the revenues and sales rate of some gaming companies. But overall, gaming trends around the globe went up during the last year. It is thus important to know the reason behind this.
What Was The COVID 19 Impact?
COVID 19 struck the world as a viral outbreak in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 and transformed into a full-fledged pandemic by mid-2020. Cities and countries across the globe came under its influence one by one as people started to succumb to this unknown illness. As a result, governments and officials across the globe issued lockdown orders making it impossible for anyone to step outside their houses. This directly affected the daily productivity of people, the shopping, food, and other necessities of daily life. The marketplace, the shopkeepers, and businesses got affected severely due to a lack of customers. Industries were kept at bay for the lockdown period; laborers were stuck at home.
The major avenues of impact in the COVID 19 pandemic were the daily wagers and the businesses across the globe. Most of the businesses were dependent on physical interventions and manual operations. Thus with Lockdown setting in, it wasn’t easy to continue running them.
Work from home became a major daily routine for most of the employees. Keeping aside the health issues and fatalities, the COVID had other long-lasting effects detrimental to society. But few avenues of life got a major boost during the COVID period. The healthcare industry kept very busy and thrived really well. They had to work double shifts to cover the emergencies. Similarly, the gaming industry was another avenue that seems to reap out profits in the pandemic period. Gaming, in general, became quite an extensive habit among most of the people staying at home.
Why Gaming Got A Boost During The COVID 19?
Many reasons can be put forward to account for the sudden boost in gaming around the world. There was substantial growth in the gaming trends during the pandemic period. Now the main question is, how does gaming survive the pandemic crisis better than any other industry? The answer is quite simple, really. With people stuck in their houses and very little to do, they tried to keep themselves entertained by playing games. As gaming is mostly online these days, the requirement of physical contact like that of sports is not there. People can easily log in from their homes, connect to the worldwide gaming server, and play with each other.
1) The lockdown effect
Gaming was a popular trend even before the arrival of the pandemic. But with the onset of COVID 19, gaming rose to prominence, and the global online players count increased considerably. The lockdown can be accounted mostly for this trend. Most of the time, people were stuck in their homes with nowhere to go; they resorted to gaming as a source of entertainment. A study showed that even non-gamers above 40 involved themselves in gaming activities to release stress and keep busy.
2) Social Interaction
Along with social media, gaming was another medium of social interaction. Players from different parts of the globe could come online and interact with each other during the games. This helped a lot as, during the lockdown, people were mostly isolated from each other.
3) More Free time
Earlier, most people used to have a busy routine throughout the day. There was hardly any time for the working people to invest in games. Major gaming activities would take place on holidays and weekends. But with COVID 19 pandemic, people were isolated from traveling and work, thus acquiring lots of free time. They involved themselves in playing games during their free time.
4) More revenue
With more game time and transactions made by gamers, the gaming industry thrived very well, and some of the big publishers recorded more revenue than last year.
What Was The Impact Of COVID 19 On Gaming Habits?
The pandemic ushered a lot of changes in people’s daily habits and practices. For once, due to the pandemic, people almost forgot what it means to step out of their house and travel outside. Another instance of this can be found in increasing food intake due to stress eating. The pandemic also influenced the gaming habits of gamers and non-gamers alike. Gamers who used to play even before the pandemic started having more screen time. Non-gamers started to play new games and indulged in gaming activities more than before. The rise of mobile gaming is another change of gaming habits among the general people.
Increase In HD Gaming And Mobile Gaming Habits
During the pandemic, people wanted to keep themselves occupied with various hobbies and entertainment. People resorted to tasks and work that can be easily practiced from home. Thus many people took up gaming as an active time pass activity. Through gaming, people could express their everyday stress and enjoy some time interacting with fellow gamers. As a result, there was a direct rise in the number of gamers worldwide. Leading video game platform Steam reported a record number of active users during the pandemic period. More than 20 million players were playing various games at one point in steam. Other gaming platforms also started to enjoy large gaming participation. Companies like Activision Blizzard, EA Sports, Tencent all started to grow exponentially during the pandemic.
According to gaming trends, usually, there is a fewer number of gamers during the springtime. But with the ongoing pandemic and stay-at-home orders in place, people largely participated in online gaming activities. This resulted in a 42 percent increase in the number of players from the previous year. Not only HD gaming but mobile gaming flourished as well. Many people resorted to mobile gaming as a side hobby. The short yet competitive nature of modern mobile games attracted a lot of people of various ages. This resulted in a growth in the number of mobile gamers worldwide. With the active penetration of smartphones, it was rather easy to indulge in mobile gaming for many users.
Difference Of Weekend And Weekday Numbers Of Gamers
Earlier the number of gamers playing games used to spike during the weekends mostly. This was because most of the working people would get their mandatory week off during weekends. Thus gaming was mostly restricted as a leisure activity. This also meant the number of daily gamers would be less on the weekdays when most people would be working or attending schools and colleges. But with the pandemic, the world experienced a complete lockdown that ensued all outgoing activities to come to a standstill. Gamers thus started to enjoy their free time during weekdays as well. This contributed significantly as the difference in the number of weekday and weekend gaming activities reduced in the pandemic.
Before the lockdown, the number of gaming activities would go down the most during Wednesday or Thursday. But after the imposition of the lockdown, the difference in gaming habits was minimized greatly. Earlier, the difference between weekday and weekend gaming numbers was 1.5 percent. Now, after the COVID 19, this difference has been reduced to a mere 0.56 percent. Also, at a point in May, the numbers of weekday gamers were higher than weekend gamers.
Rise Of Mobile Gaming
The pandemic greatly contributed to the rise of mobile gaming in different countries around the world. Moreover, with the easy availability of smartphones, the number of mobile gamers went up. The major reason behind this can be the easy nature of mobile games that consumes fewer data and have fewer requirements than PC gaming. Therefore, people can be found indulging in mobile games between work hours as well.
Increase In The Number Of Mobile Game Ad Viewers
With the increasing number of mobile gamers, the number of Ads viewed by people also went up. This resulted in the growth of revenue that comes from Ads. Gaming companies started to reap more profit from this trend more during the pandemic. The ads impressions of the mobile gaming companies increased by 57 percent during the pandemic period. This was primarily due to the increased number of mobile gamers in the COVID 19 period. The increased concentration of mobile gamers, in turn, paved the way for an increased rate of revenue coming from this ad’s impressions. Many mobile gaming companies continued to run ads which resulted in heavy profits due to more ad views. Also, the average number of ads watched by a mobile gamer went up by 14 percent. As a result, people started to watch more ads and download the latest mobile games.
Increased Number Of Gaming App Downloads
Mobile gaming surely revolutionized the esports trends across the globe. Many gaming companies started to publish more titles during the pandemic keeping in mind the increased player numbers. Even non-gamers and older adults with access to smartphones resorted to different mobile games to engage themselves. As a result, the number of mobile game downloads reached an all-time high during the pandemic. The number of gaming app downloads went up by a massive 84 percent. Different people seemed to have different choices regarding the games they love. Arcade, strategy, role-playing games, puzzles, and shooter games were all popular among mobile gamers. Sometimes the type of app downloads determined the trend of gaming preferences among the people. It was observed that around 75 percent of people who were playing mobile games had more than a single mobile game on their smartphone.
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CTR Of Mobile Game Ads Went Up
The Click- Through Rate is an important measurement aspect when it comes to running ads. One can define CTR by the number of users clicking on an individual ad divided by the number of views received by the ad. This determines the active engagement of users on the funnel creating by the marketing team for achieving the end goal. The users have to engage in the ad to install the game that the ad-makers ultimately want. Thus an increased CTR would actually mean a rise in app installation numbers. Generally, the CTR ranges between 1- 2 percent, with exceptions running in the gaming ecosystem due to minor changes. For example, in the COVID 19 outbreak, the number of ad views went up, directly affecting the CTR numbers. The rise of CTR even excelled the numbers received during the holiday period.
Decrease In CPI Numbers
There is a significant decrease in the Cost per Install numbers for mobile apps during the pandemic. This is mostly due to the withdrawal of non-gaming ads from mobile games. As a result, many non-gamers started to download and play various mobile games, owing to a decrease in CPI numbers. It became easy to use an app without further competition from other sources. Players started receiving free in-app gifts. In-app purchases were now optional and mostly centric to hardcore games.
How The COVID 19 Affected The Choice Of Games
The COVID 19 increased in gaming numbers and diversified the gaming trends so far followed. It was observed that earlier, there were different types of gaming app usage. People used to play various commuter apps, which were perfect games to play during transit or commuting from places. With the pandemic, there was a significant decline in the number of commuter app usage. On the contrary, people started to play more hardcore and mid-core games with more available time. The hardcore games require more concentration and great skills, which take up more time. As people were stuck in their homes with nowhere to go, the hardcore gaming companies made a lot of profit with increased app usage.
Difference Between Seasonal Gamers And Pandemic Gamers
Researchers have figured out how to classify the sudden surge of gamers that spiked during the pandemic. Even before the outbreak of COVID 19, there were considerable numbers of everyday gamers who can be labeled as seasonal players. But the increased stack of gamers brought in by pandemic restrictions is new to the gaming avenue. Therefore, they have been termed pandemic gamers. Studies show that pandemic gamers are more actively converted to paid users than seasonal gamers. Online games followed this trend for the majority of the pandemic period.
The new gamers were easy to convert into a paid users while the seasonal gamers remained the same. But despite the increased conversion rate, the daily average revenue per paying user went down. This was due to the increased number of mobile game users in the pandemic. Although the new gamers started to convert into paid users, the total number was far higher than before. As a result, the average number would be far less, which impacted the daily average revenue numbers.
Overall, one can easily apprehend the impact COVID 19 had on the gaming industry. With an increased number of everyday gamers, the average revenue of the gaming companies went up. Many gaming companies decided to raise their stocks, and many went public. It was truly one of the best times for a gaming enthusiast. The impact of COVID 19 indirectly persuaded a lot of non-gamers into playing games. And this directly raised the profit margins for the gaming industry and anyone associated with it. Relevant authorities took professional leagues online for practicing social distancing. But the online participation of gamers and viewers reached a record high during the pandemic. The estimated number of gamers will continue to rise as even the non-gamers have liked the games they have played.