Gaming Industry Stepping Out in Time of Isolation

With most of the country Quarantining to protect themselves against the COVID-19 pandemic, traditional forms of entertainment have begun to feel the strain. Movie theaters, restaurants, bars and even hotspots like Starbucks have shuttered their doors to slow the expansion of the virus. Most of the American public, for the first time, have had to “find ways” to cure the seemingly unending boredom that has come from staying indoors – much to the chagrin of the Entertainment industry. AMC Theatres is currently in talks with bankruptcy lawyers, the Sporting Industry is switching gears to a more “attend-able” platform and Major Broadcasters have had to not only find different areas to film in (IE – New York being closed), but some television programs, such as gaming shows, have had to suspend filming altogether. Its hard to imagine any form of industry truly profiting during a time like this – but believe it or not, there is!

The gaming industry continues to remain resilient – with more and more people turning to video games to cure boredom, turn into their favorite events, or to connect with their favorite friends and family. The sports industry too has turned to Esports to fill the loss left in empty stadium seats. They’ve seen the number of viewers rise across the board – from Formula One to the NHL and NBA.

Steam also saw a vast rise in players in the month of March – over 20 million people are using the service.

“Steam just achieved a new peak concurrent user record of 22 million, one day after reaching 21 million and six days after reaching 20 million,” Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad said on Twitter.

“Global lockdowns and self-isolation due to COVID-19 has led to at-home gaming becoming a safe form of entertainment to pass the time.”

But PC gamers aren’t the only ones who are rejoicing in boredom-breaking numbers. Both Xbox and Playstation have had to adjust servers for the influx of players and adjust download speeds in order to help keep their gamers happy and playing.

One of the newest (and coolest!) things to come out from our isolation woe is a campaign called #PlayApartTogether. Amazon’s Twitch and Activision Blizzard have joined together to help us stay connected with one another, even if we can’t be physically present.

“It’s never been more critical to ensure people stay safely connected to one another. Games are the perfect platform because they connect people through the lens of joy, purpose and meaning. We are proud to participate in such a worthwhile and necessary initiative,” Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said in a press release.

So rejoice, Gamers! Finally the world is taking a deep breath and giving us a break from telling us “to go outside” and they are plugging in their controllers alongside us! And, while not everyone has found comfort in looter shooters or the joy in a God roll, it seems more and more people have now found the time to invest in the games that they love, or, at least to blow the dust off some of their favorite titles.