Pandemic boosting global video game market, and effects will linger

The Covid-19 pandemic and consequent stay-at-home policies have boosted the global video game market, according to a report from Simon-Kucher & Partners and Dynata.

The report, which polled 13,000 people across 17 countries, found that gamers are playing more video games, are spending more money on video games, are playing new types of games, and watching more game streaming content. What’s more, the boost to the video gaming market is expected to continue after the pandemic and social distancing end.

Globally, Covid-19 has driven a 39% increase in monthly spend for video, with spending projected to be up 21% even after all lockdown measures are lifted. The US saw a lower average increase (13%) than other regions, such as Asia-Pacific (42%) and Latin America (52%). However, the US will maintain all of that increase after restrictions end – increasing from $16/month to a sustained $18/month.

The increase in monthly spend was consistent among gamers of nearly all age groups, according to the report.

The report found that 33% of the population was gaming prior to the pandemic, with the pandemic adding 1% of the population as first time gamers. This represents a 4% new growth in the overall gaming population.

NA had the lowest state growth during Covid“COVID-19 has been an energizer for the gaming industry – quarantine policies exacerbated existing trends, accelerated structural changes, and massively increased the popularity of an already fast-growing industry. We expect several companies to outperform their 2020 forecasted earnings,” said Lisa Jäger, media expert and partner at Simon-Kucher, a global strategy and marketing consultancy.

Gamers unsurprisingly increased their time spent playing video games during quarantine. The proportion of “gamers” (5-20 hours/week) and “serious gamers” (20+ hours/week) jumped from 63% to 82% during the pandemic. The report projects that the percentage of video gamers who play for more than 5 hours/week will settle at 74% in the post-pandemic period.

US gamers showed similar trends

Most gamers (60%) said that they are playing different games during Covid-19, shifting to more time-consuming and socially interactive games. The most popular segment has been battle royale multiplayer games, which include Fortnite, PUBG, and Call of Duty: Warzone. Battle royale games have been particularly popular in the US, seeing a 143% increase during the pandemic.

“This shift to more hours spent gaming suggests monetization metrics that scale with usage could see an uptick,” said Nick Zarb, partner at Simon-Kucher.

Finally, more gamers watched video game streams during the lockdown (80%), jumping from 57% prior to Covid-19. Younger gamers (under 25) are more likely to watch streamers for entertainment purposes, while older gamers (25+) say they are more focused on skill improvement.

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