With strict coronavirus lockdowns imposed around the world shortly after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it a pandemic, people searched for means of entertainment. What followed were reports of Netflix users reporting streaming issues due to the upsurge of simultaneous users. On the other hand, internet usage was also particularly higher as many businesses switched to work-from-home to protect its employees. Meanwhile, the gaming industry noted that overall demand was at an all-time high, which financial analysts can now confirm.

In an article by PlayStation Lifestyle, the NPD Group highlighted consumer spending on video games in the first quarter of 2020. It shows that from January to March, a total of $10.86 billion has been made in sales. Due to the restrictions imposed to control the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, physical sales were evidently lower. In contrast, digital copies were notably higher than what was recorded in the same quarter of 2019. According to financial pundits, this marks an 11 per cent increase for 2020.

NPD analyst Mat Piscatella stated that "video games have brought comfort and connection to millions during this challenging time." He likewise added: "As people have stayed at home more, they've utilised gaming not only as a diversion and an escape, but also as a means of staying connected with family and friends. Whether it was on console or mobile, PC or virtual reality, gaming experienced play and sales growth during the first quarter."

The titles that made an impact were "Grand Theft Auto V," "DOOM Eternal," "Minecraft," "MLB The Show 20," "Animal Crossing: New Horizons," "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare," "Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot," and "NBA 2K20" among others. The gaming industry projected slower console sales for Sony and Microsoft with each company's respective next-generation systems slated to launch later this year. Nevertheless, many retailers reported shortages as consumers bought almost everything available.

Ring Fit Adventure popular in China
The game has yet to be officially launched in China, yet consumers can still purchase it from other outlets. Photo: Nintendo

Equally impressive is the overwhelming demand for the Nintendo Switch. Reports of shortages started as early as January, when Chinese retailers allegedly started importing international units to make up for shortages. Additionally, the fitness-oriented game "Ring Fit Adventure" quickly sold out as gamers opted to exercise from home amid the health crisis.