Video game sales reach record high amid lockdown

Video game sales reach record high amid lockdown
March 2020 was a record month for video games. Credit: Belga

March 2020 was a record month for the video game industry around the world, as sales reached the highest monthly total ever, according to market analysts.

People have spent $10 billion US dollars (€9.26 billion) on video games as a large part of the population went into lockdown due to the new coronavirus (Covid-19), according to SuperData, a company that provides market intelligence about the video game industry.

Revenue from console games rose by 64% compared to February, from $883 million to $1.5 billion, and PC game sales increased with 56% over the same period, from $363 million to $567 million, SuperData reported.

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Console and PC games "tend to be most popular in North America and Europe, where Covid-19 prevention measures expanded dramatically in March," according to SuperData.

The game Animal Crossing: New Horizons sold 5 million digital units, making it the most purchased console game in history, SuperData said. "New Horizons also roughly matched the first-month digital sales of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Pokémon Sword and Shield put together. The game’s combination of social features and a relaxing setting likely appealed to individuals stuck at home," they explained.

Doom Eternal, the hotly anticipated next game in the Doom franchise, sold 3 million digital units as it "benefited from strong reviews and the positive reception of its predecessor," according to SuperData.

Meanwhile, "Half-Life: Alyx performed modestly by the standards of AAA games but was a blockbuster by the standards of virtual reality (VR) exclusive titles," they said.

Not only console and PC games are doing well. "Earnings for a number of major mobile titles also grew during the month," they said. Pokémon Go's gross revenue was up by nearly 20%, for example, "after publisher Niantic made tweaks to the game to make it easier to play without physically moving."

"Individuals are turning to games as a reliable entertainment option during the Covid-19 crisis and are using online multiplayer to keep in touch with others," SuperData said.

Overall video game sales were up 11% year-on-year in March, according to Superdata.

Jason Spinks

The Brussels Times

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