The coronavirus pandemic is showing a silver lining, at least for the video game industry. Video game sales were up 9% year-over-year in the first quarter to $10.9 billion. Game content powered the sector with an 11% increase, amounting to $9.6 billion in sales.
Hardware improved as well, increasing 2% to $773 million as Nintendo’s Switch helped offset declines in other platforms. High demand has made the Switch a hard-to-find item the past few months as Nintendo tries to keep pace.
The livestreaming industry also exploded, showing 99% year-over-year growth in hours watched in April. The April numbers were themselves a 45% increase over March.
The video game and esports industries have garnered plenty of attention over the past two-plus months as traditional sports have come to a standstill and people remained stuck inside. Experts inside and outside the industry are confident the momentum will continue even as life returns to some semblance of normalcy.
Video Game Stocks
- Activision Blizzard: +23% this year
- Electronic Arts: +8.9%
- Take-Two Interactive: +7.4%
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons has sold 13.5 million copies since its late March release.
- Microsoft’s Game Pass has more than 10 million subscribers with a 130% increase in multiplayer engagement.
- Nintendo Switch sales are up 24% year-over-year.
- Twitch users viewed 1.49 billion hours in April, up 50% from March.