2020 is a year that will be remembered by humanity for a long time as it was the year when we saw the emergence of Coronavirus aka Covid-19. The virus has put the world into a state of panic and has caused countries to enforce lockdowns. During lockdown people have resorted to movies, music, social media etc. to keep their minds at ease, however there is one medium that has grown significantly and that is gaming. During such trying times it’s not surprising that many people have turned to gaming as a reprieve from all the chaos that is currently affecting the world. In a study done by Unity.com it has been recorded that both HD gaming and mobile gaming saw a significant rise in the number of people playing.
It has been quite remarkable to see gaming grow in such trying times and it goes to show that unlike other forms of media such as movies, gaming hasn’t seen a decline. However Covid-19 has had a negative impact on games as well, particularly the production aspects of video games. Some video games that were expected to release this year have been pushed back by several months or have been delayed indefinitely and gaming companies have been forced to shift to a work from home environment. This has had a severe impact on the production process of video games however, it looks like many of the big AAA video game companies are managing just fine. The issues come for smaller indie-developers that are finding it difficult to survive in such an environment. Another issue posed by Covid-19 is the overall sales of video games as people have now been forced to abandon the physical versions of the game and are required to download games instead. There are segments of the gaming community that still prefer to buy physical discs rather than download the game through a digital store. Stores that sell physical discs are now receiving less sales because people are afraid of stepping outside their homes.
Besides the sales, Covid-19 has also had an effect on the e-sport/gaming events as well. For example E3 and GDC which are arguably the biggest gaming events of the year, didn’t take place due to Covid-19 and has hence caused video game companies to find alternate methods to market their games. Before the Coronavirus people could gather at such events, waiting in excitement to watch their favourite games get revealed, but now that just isn’t possible. EVO (Evolution Championship Series) which is one of the biggest fighting game events has also been cancelled and this has had a severe effect on the e-sport teams and players who go to such events to not only prove themselves, but to entertain their fans as well.
Even though Covid-19 has increased the average person’s time spent on playing video games, it has taken away opportunities from the industry to truly thrive. It is still undetermined if Covid-19 will continue to make things better/worse for the industry as that is something only time will tell.