Digital games during the Corona pandemic
In 2020 and 2021, the digital game industry immune to pandemic-related offline contact restrictions grew tremendously. Many digital games have enabled social exchanges between players and virtual shared experiences for several decades.
Back to normal?
The year 2022 will enable more offline leisure options than in the previous two years, and thus more consumer competition for digital games. Analysts are already seeing a decline in demand for smartphones. Increased home office use and a potential economic crisis could negatively impact usage and advertising revenue for these games, which are often used on the go. In contrast, many analysts forecast further growth in demand for so-called AAA games with high development budgets, similar to blockbusters in the film industry.
Shrinking games market?
The number of people with suitable gaming hardware and fast Internet access continues to grow significantly. In addition, there are exciting innovations in the game industry. For example, while Sony's virtual reality headset (PlayStation VR) released in 2016 did not have a runaway success with only 5 million sales despite an impressive number of over 600 VR games, this could change in the future for Sony's second generation VR or new VR and augmented reality (AR) offerings from competitors (e.g. Meta and Apple). Also, more consumers are currently discovering subscription models for games (e.g. Xbox Game Pass), where they can unlock access to vast libraries of games without having to buy those games separately, similar to Netflix, for example. Another interesting trend is the growing enthusiasm for e-sports, i.e., competition within digital games in individual or team forms. Now that annual sales in professional e-sports have long since exceeded the US$ billion mark, their relevance for mass sports is also increasing.