The coronavirus has inevitably changed digital video game sales. An expected conclusion: Logistics were put in trouble (to the point that Sony pushed back The Last of Us Part 2) and millions of people were trapped in the house. So it’s no surprise that in March digital sales hit $ 10 billion, according to the SuperData survey – the highest number ever. An 11% increase from March 2019, when digital video game revenue was $ 9 billion.
Mobile video game revenue grew 15% year over year. Pokémon Go, which introduced new features to allow people to keep playing without having to go out, increased revenue by 18% from the previous month. Honor of Kings, Gardenscapes, and Candy Crush Saga were the top three grossing mobile video games in March.
For payouts, Animal Crossing: New Horizons was the best-selling digital console video game. A number sums up the impact of COVID-19 on Nintendo Switch game sales particularly well: over 5 million digital units in just one month. Never before has any other console game in history succeeded in doing the same. The previous record was held by Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. To give a benchmark, the company notes that Animal Crossing: New Horizons “nearly matched digital sales in the first month of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Pokémon Sword and Shield together. “Data necessarily” drugged “by the quarantine, but still interesting. For console revenue, Animal Crossing is followed by FIFA 20 and MLB The Show 20.
Doom Eternal’s digital sales have also increased significantly. The game debuted on March 20, but sold three times as many digital copies distributed in a month as the previous chapter, which launched on May 13, 2016. In total, Doom Eternal collected 3 million digital units in March . Half-Life Alyx performed well for a virtual reality game, even though it was only “modest” by triple A standards. According to SuperData, around 860,000 users played Half-Life: Alyx in March. Valve’s shooter was the eighth highest grossing PC game, best in the Top 10 only on World of Warcraft West and World of Tanks. The PC rankings are dominated by Dungeon Fighter Online, followed by League of Legends and Crossfire.
It wasn’t just Animal Crossing that benefited from the debut during a quarantine period: Call of Duty Modern Warfare’s battle royale mode, called Warzone, helped increase the number of monthly active users by 159%. In the first 10 days of availability, Warzone (available for free and separately from the base game) garnered 30 million users and reached 50 million players in the first month.
Physical sales, on the other hand, couldn’t help but follow a negative trend. Monthly data is not available, but GamesIndustry’s analysis of GSD data declined in countries like Italy and Spain, where very restrictive forms of quarantine were in place in the first half of March.
In Italy, for example, from March 9 to 15, sales of packaged games fell 8.7% on a weekly basis and the following week fell 21.8%. Similar results in Spain, where the drop was 5.1% and the figure reaches almost 50% if the commercial results of Animal Crossing are excluded. Between March 9 and today, countries in quarantine have increased sharply, so it’s easy for the impact on physical sales to be even greater.
Digital sales figures, however, confirm how the world of video games has adapted to the pandemic, which has stalled other entertainment sectors, such as film and music. Esports has retained the bank in the offering of sports federations, consumption of video games has increased – allowing people to stay in touch – and digital sales have increased and balanced the decline of physics.