The novel coronavirus has confined millions of people to their homes.
For many, this meant having a lot more time to play. A survey conducted by gaming intelligence specialist Newzoo has shown that gamers have more time at their hands due to working from home (some of them), and most of them spend it by playing all the games they didn’t have a chance before the pandemic.
At the same time, the most popular eSports have received a viewership boost.
On the one hand, there are no live sports to follow on TV. On the other, some sports channels have chosen to fill the gap left by the suspension of live sports with their virtual counterparts – Fox Sports is one of the examples, showing eNASCAR races live.
But not all games are created equal. Some of them, like Nintendo’s new “Animal Crossing” and the brand new “Doom” game, were, of course, successful – but they were not the big winners of the lockdown.
Shooters, in general, have seen a spectacular growth both in playtime and player numbers during the first three months of the year. The big winner of this time period was Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege – Ubisoft’s shooter, released in 2015, has seen a massive surge in players (most of them from China) at the beginning of this year, pushing it into the spotlight once again.
Other shooters that gained a lot of traction were Call of Duty Modern Warfare along with its free-to-play “Warzone” offshoot that strengthens the ranks of battle royale games, and Battlestate Games’ online shooter Escape from Tarkov, released this January, that attracted many players to the shooters’ side. And there is, of course, the “usual suspect” – Valve’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is still holding strong.
Deck-building games have seen a surge, too, at the beginning of this year – most of the growth comes from one title, though: Riot Games’ Legends of Runeterra. The game, set in the League of Legends universe, was received with enthusiasm by players around the world – and Twitch viewers as well.
On the platformers’ side, Ori and the Will of the Wisps – released this March – has attracted many to the genre. A sequel to the successful Ori and the Blind Forest, the game comes with story continuity and improved visuals, plus improved combat that both the fans and the critics received very well.
Finally, a genre that has received an unexpected push from sports channels and racing organizations as well: racing games. With NASCAR being replaced by eNASCAR on TV, and Formula 1 holding virtual Grands Prix instead of real-life ones. F1 pilots themselves are taking the virtual wheels in official transmissions from the FIA, prompting fans around the world to reach out to sim racing games – both playing and watching them. The viewership of racing sims has skyrocketed on Twitch in the last few months, more than doubling from the beginning of the year.