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What we once knew as ‘normal’ will not be the same again, and despite the drastic changes nations and societies have endured these last couple of months, it does not necessarily mean bad. Mat Piscatella (2020), an analyst from N.P.D. Group, one of the largest market research companies in the world that monitor consumer purchase data, said to the New York Times that people are diverting to gaming from other activities they would do in a normal world and game sales are breaking franchise records.
Thanks to the COVID-19 related lockdown measures taken by many countries around the world, the interest in gaming increased significantly, making it one of the growth drivers for the industry, in addition to the expected end of year release of the next-generation consoles.
According to a study by Newzoo, it is forecasted that the 2020’s global games market will generate revenues of $159.3 billion, over $13 billion from last year, a healthy year on year growth of +9.3%. These revenues come from console, mobile gaming, and PC.
Mobile gaming experienced the highest increase in engagement, with expected revenues of around $77.2 billion this year, over 13% from last year. Some of the reasons for this is because a lot of mobile games are free, development is less complicated, more than two-fifths of the world population has a smartphone, and mobile games can be played anywhere, anytime.
Around 50% of the game’s revenue during 2020 will come from China and the United States, yet the growth of the 3 gaming segments will come from Latin America and Asia-Pacific.
Furthermore, while markets tumble, stocks of gaming companies experience good fortune, and according to a Forbes article by the Trefis Team, the investment cycle is expected to pick up, as to develop new games, especially thanks to the arrival of the new generation consoles, increasing the gaming demand.
Thanks to COVID-19 traditional sports have been put on hold around the world, thus making people turn to other forms of entertainment to fill the empty hours of lockdown, in this case, gaming and Esports.
Esports was one of the first parts of the industry to be affected since it relies on live events; yet most events are taking place online, without on-site audiences, and although nothing can replace the thrilling experience of a live event, traditional sports leagues are turning to the industry to try and engage with fans.
Some esports competitions are even broadcasted on Live TV, as companies are looking to fill airtime of canceled sports content. MBL, NBA, NBA, FIFA, Formula 1, and NASCAR, one of the most successful with its iRacing series, which peaked at 1.3 million viewers; have aired on Fox, Fox Sports, NBC, ESPN, and ESPN 2 during prime slots.
The esports sector may have lost revenues, but as a result of low-cost marketing, the value of the sector increased, and also, because broadcasters, traditional leagues, and athletes have adopted esports in an unprecedented way aiming to engage fans, this may help esports become mainstream, reaching a new, larger audience, new stakeholders, and grow even more.
It is still uncertain as to when all activities and industries will go fully back to ‘normal’; some countries are already slowly implementing post-lockdown plans to help society and the economy get back on track, but the entertainment industry will suffer for much longer since events like concert tours, conferences, sporting events, corporate meetings, and many more require mass gatherings of people; yet, companies are adapting and improvising creative new ideas.
Rebellion, a UK video games company, comics publisher, and film and TV producer, is experimenting on ‘virtual production’, combining its experience from gaming and filmmaking. It is the process of shooting film or TV in an environment created by a video game engine, engines such as Unreal Engine or Unity.
With this method, there is little need for on-set presence, and staff can work on all the elements of production remotely, like lighting, camera positions, and lenses while recording live; this also makes adjustments easier and less need for post-production, which means costs and meetings of people.
This is far from new since it has been around for some years, dating back to The Fellowship of the Ring; but with technology improvements, this allows ambitious projects to happen while maintaining social distance if needed.
Gaming can improve relationships, bonding, communication, and collaboration, which is great news since even after lockdowns are fully lifted around the world, businesses, and life as we knew it will take some time to go back to “normal”.
This means mass gatherings will still be on hold, some businesses won’t be able to operate at full capacity and social distancing will continue. In a way, we will still be “isolated”. We’ll be living different lifestyles that we might find stressful or not comfortable; nevertheless, gaming will be able to provide us with a form of stress relief, a way to treat anxiety, depression, and a way to stay in touch with friends when it’s otherwise difficult to meet outside.
Furthermore, games can be used to teach, pro-social games can actually change people’s behavior in the real world, according to Psychologist Prof Richard Wiseman; like the game, he co-designed ‘Can You Save the World?’, which encourages learning through doing; a game that teaches people social distancing and that it does make a difference in saving lives.
The current pandemic has created disruptions in the global supply chain, making it difficult to create and deliver physical products; but thanks to recent events and technology, a shift towards mobile and cloud-based platforms may accelerate, bringing new developments in infrastructure, storage, information, and communications technology, helping industries that rely on stable, high-speed internet connections and trends like robotics and drones, 3D printing, telemedicine, distance learning, etc.
Thanks to this pandemic, we will be digitally ready for any future events and help life continue as normal as possible and help make it easier for all.
– Enrique De Alba
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