Gaming has seen a huge rise in players over the last few months as players look to spend their free time escaping from the world around them.
Mobile gaming has particularly seen increases in players, with app downloads up 84% on the same period in 2019.
Many different titles have seen big spikes and some genres in particular have become real favourites for players across the world.
But what are the genres that have been keeping us entertained over the last few months?
Since December, shooters have enjoyed the biggest rise in players according to research by Newzoo. The brand found that there’s been a 40% increase in players since December.
On PC, the genre of game had a 46% share of the market in March, with Ubisoft title Rainbow Six being the most popular title.
Counter-Strike is another which has enjoyed a surge in players in the shooter genre. It’s been estimated that the game has enjoyed a 40% rise during the month of April, although that has since started to drop in the last 30 days as players start to come out of lockdown.
However, it is also believed that the pandemic isn’t the only reason behind the rise in people playing shooters. An update for Escape from Tarkov helped draw a large number of players back, while Rainbow Six: Siege have enjoyed a large influx of players from China.
Call of Duty’s Battle Royale mode has also been a significant factor as it has performed significantly well since launch in March. The virus however has likely improved the success of it, with players loving the following factors:
- Cross-Platform: You can play with friends no matter what their console/gaming device
- Squad based: Players must work as a team and therefore interact, engage and socialise
- Free to play mode: Players don’t have to pay to play
The closure of bingo halls has left many without a weekly hobby and place to socialise with friends. What that has done has driven players online, and online and mobile bingo sites have seen a real boom.
In the UK alone, it’s believed some sites have enjoyed an increase of new players of around 30% and it’s a similar story right across the world, as players enjoy all manner of different bingo variants.
The wide range of variants has been integral in encouraging people to play online bingo. The mixture of traditional variants you’d find at your local bingo hall appeals to those players who are unable to get out and play at venues, while fast-play and variants such as slingo bingo are appealing to a younger audience.
Recent reports have also found that its female players who are the driving force behind the huge growth in online bingo. 62% of players enjoying the game are female, and perhaps surprisingly over half are under the age of 44, with over a quarter being under the age of 34.
That certainly goes against the stereotype and could be a good sign for when bingo halls do start to get back to normal, particularly as 28% of online bingo players would also play at a brick-and-mortar bingo hall.
Unlike shooters, online bingo sites now need to look at how this particular genre of game can keep hold of players as life begins to return to normal.
As you can probably imagine, puzzles have been particularly popular, especially among older players. But what is starting to happen is they are shunning the classic sudoku book for online variants via mobile.
There are over two billion smartphone owners on the planet, and with such an audience, all types of mobile games are proving successful during lockdown.
In fact, during the period, app downloads have increased by 84% year-on-year and puzzles are among the most popular genres.
What’s perhaps most exciting, is the recent news that a new puzzle game can in fact help you create a coronavirus vaccine!
Developed by Foldit, a puzzle created that has links to science and is based at the University of Washington, have released the app and it’s designed to encourage players to create an antiviral protein that counteracts the virus’ spike protein.
It has a number of difficulty levels and has seen hundreds of thousands of players sign up to have fun and help the cause.
On the game, the team at Foldit said, “Coronaviruses display a ‘spike’ protein on their surface, which binds tightly to a receptor protein found on the surface of human cells. Once the coronavirus spike binds to the human receptor, the virus can infect the human cell and replicate… If we can design a protein that binds to this coronavirus spike protein, it could be used to block the interaction with human cells and halt infection.”
It’s certainly a puzzle with a difference and just one of many, from sudoku to crosswords and shape based puzzles like Tetris which are proving hugely popular.
Battle Royale games have had a similar boost to shooters, with the social element of them invaluable during a time when it’s been almost impossible to see friends and family, and certainly in a capacity other than socially distanced meet-ups outside.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive saw 1,305,714 concurrent players at one time during the lockdown, the highest ever, while as already mentioned Call of Duty: Warzone has proven a big hit, welcoming 15 players in three days.
Fortnite has also continued to be a big hit. Such has been the hit of the game, Sony has invested $250million in Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite, as the console maker gets set to release the PlayStation 5.
Reports also came out of Italy recently that because of Fortnite’s popularity during lockdown, it has put strain on Italian internet providers.
Chief Executive Officer of Telecom Italia, Luigi Gubitosi told Bloomberg, “We reported an increase of more than 70% of Internet traffic over our landline network, with a big contribution from online gaming such as Fortnite,”
The surge in players even led to temporary outages, and it could end up being a similar story in the US, although some providers have lifted the data caps they initially had in place pre-pandemic. The game even made national news when it was down during lockdown, with media concerned it could lead to teens going out and breaking social distancing rules.
Within the Battle Royale industry, there has also been a rise in vloggers and YouTubers, who are gathering more subscribers than ever before and in some cases helping players create nice businesses for themselves, with advertisers itching to engage with one of the most actively engaged audiences on the planet.
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