As more and more elected officials tell their citizens to stay home in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus, game hardware and software makers are making a mint during the global pandemic, with sales indicating many are turning to all consoles and all types of games to keep themselves busy.
An analysis by GamesIndustry.biz across more than 50 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East indicates both physical and digital releases are benefiting from the lockdown. Some of that can be credited to the launch of Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Doom: Eternal, but even discounting those two major launches, physical software sales were up almost 11 percent versus the same period a year ago. In digital, the YOY jump is almost 53 percent, not even including the launch of those two titles.
Hardware sales are also seeing a sizeable increase. On average, hardware sales rose 155 percent compared to the same period in the middle of March last year. The UK saw jumps of 250% in the same period. Australia jumped over 285%.
The report notes there is some evidence to suggest a full lockdown on normal life will impact physical sales going forward. Spain and Italy, two countries with the most severe outbreaks and the most restrictions in place, software sales fell dramatically. In Spain, physical software sales were down by half when the new Animal Crossing is factored out. In Italy, the drop was similar.
No clear data is yet available in the United States, which is seeing a fragmented, piecemeal approach state-by-state to social distancing and lockdowns. Many major chains, like Gamestop and Best Buy, have trimmed service to curbside pickup or online ordering.