COVID-19 has affected businesses across the world, and now it’s even changing video games. Research has shown that COVID-19 has forced gamers to buy more digital games than physical titles. As COVID-19 closes game shops everywhere, video game fans are now clicking away at online shops to buy new games.
COVID-19 and Next-Gen Video Games
Polygon reported on the rise of digital video game sales. According to their report, games research firm Niko Partners released data showing the uptick in digital games sales. These sales include sales of full-copy games and microtransactions. For a breakdown of the numbers, here’s what the research says:
- EA’s digital download sales of full games reached 52%
- Take Two said 55% of its 2020 sales were digital
- Sony said 51% of PS4 gamers bought digital games
With these numbers, researchers suggest that over 50% of games for the next generation will be digital. These numbers also pushed Sony and Microsoft to release digital-only versions of the next-gen consoles.
The Growth of Digital Sales amid COVID-19
In another tweet, Daniel Ahmad of Niko Partners said that the growth of digital sales did not mean the decline of physical games. However, the pandemic did push gamers to rely on digital stores for games. Ahmad used Sony as an example.
You can glean this from Sony's earnings easily.
49.8m games sold on PS4 during Apr-Jun 2019.
91m games sold on PS4 during Apr-Jun 2020.
Digital +154% YoY
Physical +1.3% YoY
Physical didn't decline, digital grew. https://t.co/KRzjeNDKGx
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) August 7, 2020
Out of 49.8 million total sales in 2019, Sony sold 26.4 million digital copies, while selling 23.4 million physical titles. But as the pandemic hit in 2020, Sony sold 67.3 million digital games while selling 23.7 million physical copies.
COVID-19 Driving People to Online Stores
COVID-19 has driven people to buy digital copies of video games. Getting new games by pressing buttons has helped gamers deal with the pandemic.