Video game consoles sales numbers from the first half of 2020 are up 36.54% over the same period in 2019, providing a window into people’s chosen form of entertainment during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The massive surge in console sales (the region was not specified) ramped up in March as lockdowns were announced, peaked in April, and have since dropped. Monthly sales are still far above where they usually are this time of year, however: In July 2019, 1,908,708 consoles were sold, but July 2020 saw over three million console sales.
SEE: COVID-19 workplace policy (TechRepublic Premium)
The consoles included in the sales data the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, and sales of each correlated directly with the issuance of coronavirus stay-at-home orders, said Justinas Baltrusaitis of the UK-based Safe Betting Sites, which issued the report.
The massive rise in game console sales is unsurprising, especially when looking at the World Health Organization’s recommendation that more people play video games and other reports from early in the lockdown, like one from TechRepublic sister site CNET that said both anecdotal evidence and analysts saw massive rises in game sales and online gaming.
“Hordes of folks are playing online battle games like “Fortnite: Battle Royale” and “Call of Duty: Warzone.” They’re buying games like Nintendo’s new “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” at record rates. They’re spending more when they download titles on their phones. And they’re also whiling away an aggregated 10 million more hours each day watching other gamers play online through the streaming site Twitch.tv.,” said CNET’s Ian Sherr.
Video game consoles and software sales have made the entertainment side of the tech industry resilient during the pandemic, but early signs of resiliency elsewhere in the industry may be crumbling as we enter into the second half of 2020.
In May, it was reported that many areas of the tech industry were booming due to increases in remote work, a turn to e-commerce, and planning for a new normal in the education world. By late July, consumer technology sales and hiring numbers had both dropped.
As TechRepublic reported, tech job postings in late July were actually doing generally worse than non-tech postings in tech hubs, and were facing the same imbalance in 89% of non-tech centered cities.
SEE: Return to work: What the new normal will look like post-pandemic (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
It’s a good thing, experts told the LA Times, that the video gaming industry is booming during the pandemic. That means more people are staying home, which could reduce the spread of the virus.
Whether or not benefits to gamers expand to job seekers in the video game industry is harder to nail down: Analytics firm IBISWorld said that the gaming industry in the US is likely to remain resilient throughout the pandemic, but trends elsewhere in the tech sector, as reflected in recent reports linked above, indicate uncertainty remains as the pandemic continues.