It is a field day for esports, gamers even amid COVID-19 shutdown

As per a report by Google-KPMG, the online gaming segment will be pegged at $1.1 billion by 2021. India is among the top five mobile gaming markets with around 300 million gamers

eSports, COVID-19, mobile gaming, coronavirus, Lockdown, gaming industry
In 2019 the viewership on Twitch was at 1,15,000 while in 2020 it has reached 1,46,000. This is an increase of 31,000 viewers which is roughly 27 per cent. Illustration: iStock

COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the world economy. However, it’s not all bad news, when looking at the world of gaming and esports. Many figures have come out showing how the gaming industry may actually be booming in these troubled times.

According to a dossier prepared by statista.com the online viewership of the ESL Pro League (Counter Strike: Global Offensive event) has increased significantly when compared to 2019.

In 2019 the viewership on Twitch was at 1,15,000 while in 2020 it has reached 1,46,000. This is an increase of 31,000 viewers which is roughly 27 per cent.

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The dossier states this increase is partially a result of people being forced to stay at home due to the pandemic.

Similarly, day 2 of this event saw a record 1.4 million hours of watchtime. However, the report did predict a drop in revenue for the Modern Times Group’s gaming vertical for the first two quarters of 2020. This drop comes due to losses from events that are being converted to online only or are being cancelled and/or postponed. But this decline is slightly lower than expected.

Related news: All in the game as COVID-19 fear keeps people indoors

According to Verizon, Americans are now spending more time gaming when compared to pre-coronavirus times. The peak usage is up 71 per cent for gaming. The usage for downloads as well as for video has also increased by 56 per cent and 26 per cent respectively. This is a consistent change with little variance between weeks during the pandemic.

As per a report by Google-KPMG, the online gaming segment will be pegged at $1.1 billion by 2021. India is among the top five mobile gaming markets with around 300 million gamers.

A report in the Economic Times recently, stated, Paytm First Games, the gaming arm of the digital payments platform Paytm has experienced a 200 per cent increase since the second half of March.

COO for Paytm First Games, Sudhanshu Gupta was quoted as saying, “Our app sees more than half a million daily active gamers on the platform spending anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes,” adding that the platform has seen 75,000 new users in the weeks leading up to the second half of April.

Related news: eSports in India is turning nerds into millionaires

Another article in the Economic Times stated that Mr. Pavaan Nanda, Co-Founder of Winzo Games, had seen a 3x increase in games played and a 30 per cent increase in traffic on March 15th. This increase in traffic became an hourly incident once the country entered lockdown.

Mr. Dayanidhi M.G, founder of nCORE games (LiveOps partner for Vainglory) told The Federal, “Many industries have witnessed massive tail winds that have changed the landscape of business in those industries. Online education and Gaming are among the very few that got benefitted in these unprecedented times of the last couple of months.”

“In gaming, particularly, the industry witnessed encouraging key performance indicators such as increased daily active users, better session lengths, spike in installs and increased spending in some genres. In some genres, users have gone into grinding as a result of more time on hand than in-app purchases. But overall, it has been very encouraging,” he said.

“As a bigger take away for the gaming industry, this will result in a habit formation for occasional gamers to play frequently, explore different games and build their own universes in the game or social circles to stay connected, but apart,” he added.

Related news: What is it about gaming that draws people to it?

Dayanidhi said the statistics are still evolving. But as illustrated in the infographics above, India’s own Ludoking has smashed all records to become fifth in the all time downloads on mobile platform.

“The graph in March and April says it all,” he said.

Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are metrics that help measure the performance of games, products or even a company. In the case of gaming they help measure — success of the game, broad understanding of the current situation of the game in its market, and progress towards the key goals set by the company.

Daily Active Users (DAU) is one of the main KPIs utilized by gaming related companies to measure the performance of a game. Other common KPIs include — monthly active users, cost per installation, lifetime value, return of investment, average revenue per user, average revenue per paid user, and average revenue per daily active user.

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However, the choice of the indicators used varies based on the needs of the organisation and the specific game in question.

So far, the pandemic has benefitted the gaming industry as a general trend, however, as we head towards the end of the fourth stage of the lockdown in India we still need to wait to see the final impact of this on gaming.

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