The novel coronavirus has presented challenges for economies around the globe, but there is one bright spot from the past several months and that is digital video game revenue.
And it’s not just bright – it’s blinding. Forbes reports the segment posted its best month ever in terms of revenue at $10 billion.
While part of the growth is attributed to the lockdown put in place in many countries in the world, it is also an indication of a longterm trend. Analysts have noted for some time that sales are shifting towards the digital space with a greater speed than ever before. One standout in the pack was Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which has racked up 5 million in sales in one month, taking the top spot of any digital title in history.
Another major title according to Nielsen was DOOM: Eternal at 3 million units. The report notes that this is a marked improvement over the 2016 reboot’s outing.
Other titles that had huge debuts include Square’s PS4-exclusive Final Fantasy VII Remake and Activision’s Call of Duty battle royale mode, Warzone. Spending on mobile titles was also up compared with previous months.
Aside from Animal Crossing, however, a lot of the lockdown video game sales seem to be a Nintendo-dominated narrative. Sales of the popular Switch console have led to its being sold out, once again, at outlets across the world and online. This has led to reports of scalpers selling the console at exorbitant prices.
None of this is new but it is surprising that this long after launch,Nintendo is still struggling to keep its latest console on the shelves. Some of that could be marketing, but we doubt that’s what’s going on here during the pandemic.
Another highlight of the most recent sales reports is the success of Valve’s Half-Life: Alyx for its VR headsets. Though still a niche category by any stretch, the critical acclaim received by Half-Life: Alyx might have some gamers give virtual reality another look. What many analysts are looking for in terms of moving forward is whether or not this sales momentum continues or wanes.
As noted by the Forbes, the 2008 financial crisis did not leave video games unscathed but it did test the notion that the industry is “recession” proof. When you take into account the projected levels of unemployment predicted over the next few months, it makes it hard to imagine that games will continue to book such big numbers but strangers things have happened.
What do you think? Are these figures the product of the particular circumstances of the COVID-19 lockdown or a true indicator of the future trajectory of the industry? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below if you like.
Source – Forbes