The novel coronavirus outbreak is proving a challenge for multiple industries with retail among the hardest hit. Video game sales, however, seem to be not only avoiding that trend but also finding incredible success. How are video games thriving while everything else is locked down? Part of the reason has to do with the aforementioned lockdown, but a huge chunk of it is credited to a long-simmering growth in digital sales and downloads. Those digital sales, by all metrics, look set to firmly displace the traditional brick-and-mortar method once and for all.
NPD reports that $10.9 billion in games and consoles were sold in the period of January to March 2020. Of that figure, the overwhelming amount, $9.6 billion, were attributed to game sales and in-game microtransactions. As The Verge speculates, this only covers a small portion of the lockdown period which means that the next reporting quarter which ends in June could post even higher figures. Some of the best selling games for this period included Animal Crossing: New Horizons, DOOM Eternal, and Grand Theft Auto V.
On the hardware side of things, it was pretty much a one-sided affair with Nintendo’s Switch continuing to sell out around the world and representing a large portion of the $770 million in hardware sales for the period. Given that next-gen consoles are slated to drop later this year, the Switch’s healthy performance is noteworthy.
What will be interesting to watch is if there is a resurgence in interest in the PlayStation 4 given the lockdown and its selection of triple-A games – many of them exclusives to the system. We could see a spike in Xbox One sales as well but most eyes are on the console race leader which is undoubtedly the PS4 at this moment.
Is it a sea change in the way video games are sold? It’s certainly looking that way. And many people think it has been long in coming.
Major outlets like GameStop have struggled for some time and many people think that the COVID-19 pandemic could be the nail in the coffin for the retailer. Despite that sentiment GameStop recently put up record sales, showing that even the troubled retailer has some fight in it yet. The company needs to move that sales momentum forward as more sales gravitate toward the digital market.
What do you think? Are record sales partially credited to the lockdown or are video games just lit right now? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
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Source – The Verge