The world is at a standstill as the COVID-19 spread has crossed the 5 million mark. And, staying at home is the only precaution. That means no outings, not meeting friends or relatives until the curve flattens.
Amidst all this, there’s one simple thing that’s keeping us together – Online Games.
Yes, that’s how people are spending time together while staying apart to contain the spread. Online Games have become the new weekend getaway or night outs with friends!
Socializing over Games: Get, Set, Play!
Just a few months ago, nobody even wondered if online games could bring everyone closer, instead, video calls were the thing.
But, in no time, everybody realized that online games give them a chance to socialize while they play.
In fact, game apps like Houseparty are clubbing the gaming and video call experience together.
This app lets all the friends to hang out together on your screen in front of the camera and playing interesting in-app games while talking to each other in real-time video.
You can invite up to 7 friends simultaneously and start playing the game of your choice. There are some very popular games like Heads Up!, Quick Draw, Trivia (my personal favorite!) etc.
You cannot imagine the level of fun for you and your friends can do with Houseparty during this period.
On the other hand, the online versions of popular board games like Monopoly, Scrabble, Ludo, etc are making people nostalgic. They take you to your childhood when you used to play them with your siblings. Oh, the good old days!
Now, with the online versions, these games are once again bringing the siblings (and even strangers) together.
People are not only enjoying the interactive games but even challenging their friends in simple idle games like Clicking Speed Test, Time Keepers etc.
People who don’t have a webcam for some reason, games like Skribbl.io are becoming the new pastime! It is a browser-based game where you can invite a group of friends. The game gives you a word and one of the players draws on the screen while others guess the word by the drawing!
How Gaming Companies are Cashing the Opportunity
According to a report by Pokkt, the global mobile game downloads increased by 39% in the month of March 2020. There were almost 4 billion mobile game downloads in Mar 2020.
Steam, a popular online games platform, recorded an all-time high of 20.3 million simultaneous players on the afternoon of March 15.
Gaming traffic on Verizon’s network spiked up by 75 percent within a week, the US telco stated officially.
The numbers are HUGE!
Gaming companies have picked up this trend well in time and have started rolling out new games and updates to their current games making them more interactive and fun.
With more and more users coming to online gaming, Nintendo released a new version of its popular social simulation game – Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Mar 20, 2020. It has sold over 13.5 million copies within a month!
In April, Microsoft reported that its Game Pass service has crossed 10 million mark.
The lockdown has clearly brought a surge in the gaming industry worldwide and gaming companies are not letting any stone unturned to make the most of this Global lockdown.
Will this trend continue even after Lockdown?
Online games have definitely help us thrive through this pandemic and helped us stay connected to our loved ones without a doubt.
But, how likely is this trend to continue? Will all of us continue playing these games with friends even after the lockdown is lifted?
Humans are known for not able to quit their habits. So, there are good chances that people who kind of got addicted to playing these games with friends might not want to quit even after everything becomes normal.
On the other hand, in post COVID-19 times, we may get busy with our lives once again and might not set up a ‘Houseparty’ every other evening.
Game Studios will do their best to retain the new users they gained during this period. And, if they are able to continue this trend, its gonna be a new boom era for gaming!