The video game industry during the pandemic

Due to the consequence of stay-at-home orders, gamers spend an increased amount of money and time on video games. Video games are allowing for more social interaction between players during this time.  The effects of Covid-19 may have turned a good portion of the world into making gaming a more significant part of the culture than before, and it is looking to be a mainstay based on projections.

 Still, there has also been an increase of people getting back into gaming to entertain themselves during the lockdowns. Furthermore, many video game companies face shortages in hardware, games delayed, and marketing strategies are changing due to these stay-at-home orders. 

Video game sales surge
 Gaming has seen a tremendous growth year-to-date since the start of the pandemic. According to reports from the market research firm NPD Group, at the beginning of the nationwide lockdown in April, video game sales saw an increase of almost 75% year-over-year.  

NPD’s Industry Analyst Mat Piscatella reported that it is projected to see US consumer spending on video games will reach $13.4 billion, a 24% increase over last year in his latest projection report via NPD. Holiday sales for video games typically see a considerable increase in sales compared to the rest of the year. Still, it is also important to note that new consoles from Sony and Microsoft launched this year.  Both Sony and Microsoft took to Twitter and their news websites to express their gratitude towards gaming for the great response to their new consoles. Sony released a statement via social media, stating, “We want to thank gamers everywhere for making the PS5 launch our biggest console launch ever.”  

Video game woes 
The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles are some of the hottest items to purchase this holiday, with stocks being sold out within minutes upon availability. The high demand for these consoles has caused scalpers to purchase large amounts of consoles and sell them almost three times the original price cost; this has made it hard for people to purchase consoles when they go on sale.  

Video game influencer and host of the video game podcast Phoenix Podcast, Marc Washington, said that the “early stages of Covid have affected the strain on console production for both Microsoft and Sony.”

Not only has the console production seen strain, but the development of games themselves. Disgruntled PlayStation fans have expressed their displeasure with trying to locate and purchase a PS5 console. Parents have had a struggle with finding both Xbox and PS5 consoles for their kids this holiday, due to consoles only being available online and scalpers taking advantage of that. Gabrielle Mitchell is a mother of three and said, “This holiday my kids were anticipating getting a new console, but that will not be able to happen this year. I’m going to wait until they are available in stores.”

“Production can last a lot longer due to Covid, and we may see even more delays since a fraction of the work has to be done from home. It is all about the gaming industry adjusting to the “new normal.”, said Washington.

Halo: Infinite, Microsoft’s highlight game for Xbox Series X|S, was delayed until Fall 2021 due to the effects of Covid-19 and the developers wanting to spend more time polishing the game. With a game as big as Halo: Infinite not a part of the launch lineup of Xbox Series consoles, Microsoft’s marketing strategy then relied on their “Netflix-like” gaming subscription, Xbox Gamepass Ultimate, which allows gamers to play over 100 games on their Xbox, PC, and mobile device (Android-only).

This year has been a very interesting year for the gaming industry from all sides. The matter is how much will the industry have to change and adapt to the current climate of the world?        

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