Without a vaccine or cure for COVID-19 coming anytime soon, health experts are reminding the public to follow some precautionary measures. This involves social distancing, basic hygiene practices, and avoiding public places. Therefore, households are looking for ways to stay entertained and aside from movies, books, or the internet, video games are a great virtual escape from home isolation. As such, the demand for consoles such as the Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One is at an all-time high.
Now that almost every country is facing an upsurge of COVID-19 cases, government officials are urging people to stay indoors. Analysing the numbers generated by the Games Sales Data (GSD), GamesIndustry.biz notes that global sales of gaming software, consoles, and accessories have exponentially increased. Furthermore, with production and shipment delays predicted in the following months, digital versions are now outselling physical copies of most video games.
In detail, the report shows massive growth of up to 155 per cent for all three major brands. It includes the Sony's PlayStation 4, Microsoft's Xbox One, and Nintendo's Switch. From late last year and early 2020, market analysts revealed that sales were sluggish. This was attributed to consumers holding back from big purchases in anticipation of the Xbox Series X and PS5.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, it is likely that the trend will continue until the end of the year – just in time for the launch of the next-generation systems. In addition to the impressive uptick of profit for the gaming industry as a whole, other gaming-related outlets are noting favourable changes. Twitch and other game-streaming platforms have recorded improved viewership, while Steam marked a new milestone of concurrent online users.
In related news, several sources have reported that Switch and Switch Lite units are sold out almost everywhere. As production facilities in China suspend operations, manufacturing and shipping of new stocks are affected. Unfortunately, there are some desperate consumers who are purchasing Nintendo's hybrid console and its handheld-only version from resellers for ridiculous prices.
For now, an end to the COVID-19 outbreak is still not coming anytime soon. While many countries have successfully curbed further infections, others are not as lucky. While other markets are evidently affected by the virus, it seems that it has ended up as a boon for the video game industry as a whole.