The whole world has been under one form of a lockdown or another for weeks due to the seemingly unstoppable spread of the novel coronavirus. Those who can are working from home, those who can’t take extra precautions not to be infected. Well, some of them are, at least. People have suddenly found hours of extra time to fill – many of them have turned to binge-watching everything they didn’t have the time before the pandemic, others have turned to video games, boosting the sales of some titles, pushing others into the top lists as we speak.
There are many who play competitive online games during this time, giving an unexpected boost to the growth of eSports in 2020. The lack of live sports and the attention of some sports channels for their virtual versions – like Fox Sports’ eNASCAR races broadcast live – have added fuel to the fire.
It is obvious that, while locked inside, people play more than before. But what do they play?
According to gaming intelligence specialist Newzoo, shooters have seen an unexpected growth from the pandemic’s start, with their player base growing by a whopping 40% between December 2019 and March 2020. Actually, all games – except MOBAs – have seen their player shares grow in the same time period, especially on PC.
Shooter games have seen their player share grow thanks especially to titles like Escape from Tarkov, a tactical shooter released in January that has drawn many players to the genre, and Rainbow Six: Siege, Ubisoft’s title that saw a massive growth of players coming especially from China. Add Call of Duty: Warzone to the mix, and you have a perfect storm of soaring shooter players.
Other genres with significant growth in player share are deck-building games, with most of the growth coming from the newly released Legends of Runeterra (Riot Games), and platformers, boosted by the release of Ori and the Will of the Wisps in March.
More time to play
As you might expect, players across the globe are putting more hours into gaming than ever before. Once again, in shooters – the average daily play time has grown from 38 minutes in December to around 60 in March.
Newzoo has surveyed a representative sample of around 1200 gamers across the world, asking them about the reason why they are playing more. Almost half of them responded that they simply have more time they can dedicate to gaming – and almost all of them have responded that these changes in their gaming habits are a direct result of the ongoing pandemic.
Filling time is just one of the several reasons why people are playing more today than ever – many use games as an escape from their everyday lives, while others, to socialize more during these trying times.
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