Netflix, Amazon and other major digital platforms will emerge strengthened from the pandemic, but no industry should be as successful as the game, well set to explode its records.
Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts, two American game publishing titans, have achieved excellent results since January. Activision has even revised its forecasts upwards, a rare event in the era of layoffs and technical unemployment.
Dispensed from the distractions of real life, fans of the games have never played or spent as much as in recent months. “They play so much that they wear out their devices,” says Ted Pollak, analyst at Jon Peddie Research.
Switch sales more than doubled
“Microsoft will release its new flight simulator, and for this game alone, hundreds of millions of dollars will be invested in computers, with powerful processors.”
Same story on the side of the consoles.
Nintendo and Sony have not yet released their results for early 2020, but in March alone, sales of the Switch (Nintendo) more than doubled compared to 2019, according to NPD analyst Matt Piscatella.
This performance is not unrelated to the overwhelming success of “Animal Crossing: New Horizons”, one of the emblematic games of containment, where you can build your paradise island and visit those of other players.
“Initially, we expected a mixed year for consoles,” said Morris Garrard of Futuresource. He expected consumers to wait until the latest Sony (PlayStation 5) and Microsoft (Xbox Series X) releases are scheduled for the end of the year.
Jerseys and submachine guns
“But people are trapped at home, the children no longer go to school …”. So they find the avatars of their friends in swimsuits, or armed with assault rifles, on Fortnite or Call of Duty: Warzone, two other phenomena that have amplified their success.
The youngest go to the Roblox games platform, which is more than ever a playground.
“We are also witnessing the appearance of the senior player,” adds Morris Garrard. In China, for example, “Mahjong, a popular board game for the elderly, has boomed on smartphones.”
He estimates that spending on mobile games will jump 12% worldwide in 2020, 5% more than initially expected, also encouraged by the deployment of 5G, or 4G in emerging markets (Brazil and India at the head).
Admittedly, most entertainment apps and streaming services, free or paid, movies or music, are taking off because of social distancing measures. “But video games are the star of the entertainment industry,” says Futuresource. According to its projections, “game growth will be higher than the sector average, reaching 36% market share by 2023, compared to 31% in 2019”.
A strong sign that these companies are doing well: the advertising spending of video game brands, Nintendo in particular, doubled on American TV channels between March 16 and April 15, compared to the same period in 2019, according to VentureBeat and iSpot.tv.
Only those involved in e-sport are experiencing the crisis a little less well. Paradoxically, professional tournaments require bringing all the players together in one place, to put them under the same technical conditions.
But sports clubs, deprived of stadiums, organize electronic competitions.
“Those who watched Formula 1 on TV can see real drivers competing against experienced players on virtual circuits, on Twitch,” platform for broadcasting live games, notes Laurent Michaud. What make them want to play in turn.
Confinement is also conducive to the adoption of new media, such as cloud gaming (dematerialized), interesting for households with a powerful internet connection and reluctant to invest in new devices. Google has also not hesitated to offer two free months on Stadia, its “cloud gaming” platform launched in the fall.
The only downside is that social networks and streaming services expect a slowdown with deconfinement, when consumers can return to stores, cinemas and bars. But experts agree on the sustainability of this growth for video games. Once they have tasted it, “people (…) remain players,” says Ted Pollak.
Companies, better prepared than others for teleworking, are therefore mobilized, despite slow production. “There will be delays in the release of new games. But the demand will be such that they will sell better than ever, ”predicts the expert.
(dpa / nxp)
Created: 06.05.2020, 05h06