As shelter in place orders sweep the nation, persons young and old are being advised to stay at home or face fines. Sixty-five percent of of the fine avoiding, responsible adult population play video games on a daily basis, before shelter in place mandates. (Source: ESA) The newly defined day filled with ‘What to Do’ is leading many upstanding, yet confined citizens filling their day’s malaise with a familiar pass time: the video game. This segment of the population is the fastest growing segment by percentage. Among this population, PC gamers hold the number one spot in the most used gaming systems.
Companies like Valve, make it easy for PC gamers to purchase games, DLC’s, and movies. They own a private company called Steam that, since the outbreak, has had many publishers throwing sales to help soften the blow of the economic effects of the Covid-19 virus outbreak. The consumer is being met with open arms and a key to unlock their gaming desires; especially with new and anticipated titles being released during the crisis. These are unusual times, to say the least. Famous video game retailer, GameStop, has ceased in-store purchases, stating “It is for the best during these trying times of COVID-19 and that E-purchases can be made through [their] site,” (source:GameStop).
Titles such as NBA 2k10, Divinity Original Sin, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Arma III, and Rust, to name a few, are all seeing reduced pricing through Steam. Projected sales for this year and into 2021 have only fluxed since the outbreak. One source is touting a statistical growth to 164.6bn in this year alone, with 2021 heading towards 178bn. As more shelter in place orders and mandatory with quarantines are enforced, it is possible that sales of games, or in game content, will exceed the $164 bn mark, or, that of 2021’s projected growth (Source:GamingScan).
The continuity of persons being locked in their homes is simply increasing internet usage, causing some platforms to have drops in connectivity and reliability, when it comes to streaming. Some networks have reported completely failing due to surges of live streaming. Statistics released from Verizon show a 75% increase in internet usage for gaming since previous week. Other internet usage increases from previous week are a 34% usage for VPN’s, a 20% increase in Web traffic, and a 12% increase in video consumption.
The recent demand on internet and communications infrastructure by increased gaming provokes the question: are the current servers, and wiring infrastructure, prepared for the sudden influx of traffic through well known domains or gaming servers? It would be suggested to limit screen time through forced breaks by gaming companies. Taking ten minutes out of the day to absorb sunlight, exercise, read a book, play with pets and other non-gaming life joys. that stem from domestic and familial care. As Covid-19 floods countries, we will surely see the gaming industry flood homes with discounted and ready-to-play video games.