Creative industries against COVID – Press X to Start

By Rose Gottschalk (TheLorian)

While the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to significantly affect the United States, people are finding themselves at home more. They are isolating and limiting their contact with the outside world. Kids and parents are working from home, cutting down on time spent commuting and accomplishing some tasks quicker, depending on possible distractions. So what do you do to fill time?

Video games.

Back in March, if you were in the market for a new gaming system, you’d have some trouble. Most stores were completely out of any systems, with a wait list stretching for miles. Just for the Switch, sales went up 150%. This past year, video games were at the highest point since 2010.

New games were breaking records as well. Back in March, “Animal Crossing New Horizons,” which was a long-awaited game, broke sales records and was trending for over two months. It also currently holds the second top-selling spot of 2020 for not only switch games but across all gaming systems.

Twitch, a popular streaming platform for gamers, has had over three billion hours watch between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020–something that hasn’t been seen before.

During quarantine, it was also announced that new consoles would be introduced, like the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X, which will be seen Nov. 5 and Nov. 10, respectively. Possibly due to the surge of demands for the games, Sony announced that they would increase production so they can supply all the people that are still at home.

There were some downsides to the influx of gaming as well. Many video game companies had to delay their release, due to falling behind on production. In particular, smaller indie companies saw this outcome since home offices were unable to match the same quality and output that they could have if they occupied a work building. Voice recordings had to be delayed as well, as the recordings varied due to the background sounds that wouldn’t exist in a professional studio-recording.  

Conventions were not held over the summer either, although most games were still able to advertise as a result of the transition to virtual events. The outcome of not having a convention for the game will be seen later down the line.

In the second quarter, there was a 30% jump year over year between April and June, reaching $11.6 billion. Although, they’ve since returned to baseline demand after the surge from March through May.

Video games became a way for people to interact with each other when in-person gatherings were frowned upon. Many times on Twitter, there were posts from “Animal Crossing,” where people held parties or virtual weddings. They relied on gaming to communicate, whether through group matches or talking about their latest level achievement.

So although it’s said that video games will rot your brains, they’ve also been a lifeline during the pandemic. They’ve occupied people and opened up lines of communication, limiting feelings of isolation. Next time you power up your system of choice, remember to thank it for occupying you during a crazy time.

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Rose Gottschalk is a copy editor for The Lorian.

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