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News Article

Online Gaming Spikes Thanks to Virus Quarantine

By MBN Staff | Thu, 03/26/2020 - 14:23

In times of crisis, there will always be winners and losers. This time is no exception and as most of the world self-isolates to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, people are figuring out ways to pass these trying times at home. 

“Due to the current situation, staying indoors leaves one with plenty of idle time. This has resulted in more and more people indulging in online gaming. In the past few weeks, online gaming operators have seen an uptick in the number of downloads. This has led to ... a 10-12 percent increase in user engagement in India during this pandemic,” said Roland Landers, CEO of All India Gaming Federation, to Hindustan Time.

Nearly every country around the globe has reported cases of COVID-19 infection, with frantic efforts to contain the disease prompting the near-total shutdown of some of the world's biggest cities. In Mexico, the Ministry of Health reported yesterday 475 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 6 deaths. As the virus spreads, online gaming has become an attractive distraction for those confined at home.

“It made me feel less depressed about being in a small space for a long time," Yang An told AFP. She told the agency that she passed the time by playing for eight hours a day on her Nintendo Switch.

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Internet providers have also jumped at the opportunity to keep housebound players glued to their computers and video-game systems. Gaming traffic on Verizon's network shot up 75 percent in a week, the US company said recently. Software companies have also rushed to accommodate a record number of users. In a statement, Rockstar Games, publisher of Red Dead Redemption, promised players it would keep its online servers running. 

In an interview with Australia's RMIT University, Christian McCrea, a media studies lecturer specialized in games said online gaming communities could "go some of the ways to create the public space that has been lost" in the wake of the pandemic. Furthermore, he pointed out that gaming habits were likely to see a massive transformation in the coming months, following long periods of social isolation. "Overall, the big impact will be younger kids at home for months on end with parents out of work," he told AFP. "Games will be at the center of a lot of their spare time."

As with everything in life, there is always a ‘but.’ In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified gaming addiction as an illness. However, gamers now appear to be the best suited for braving the quarantine. "Technically I self-quarantined myself, like, three years ago," the 22-year-old Swedish Twitch streamer ‘Loeya’ said during a broadcast last week.

The COVID-19 outbreak has brought new interest on e-sports and game streaming, creating great popularity for the companies behind these systems. However, whether this transforms into actual revenue for companies remains to be seen. “SuperData estimates Twitch drove about US$1.5 billion worth of gaming video content revenue for Amazon in 2019,” said former stockbroker James Brumley to NASDAQ. Once quarterly reports are out, the pandemic’s true results will be brought to light.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
AFP, Nasdaq
Photo by:   Unsplash
MBN Staff MBN Staff MBN staff