eSports and Corona
The influence of the Coronavirus has been felt worldwide and the eSport community wasn’t an exception. Many events have been canceled or postponed but there are other interesting things going on in the space right now. Since all major sports events have been canceled, pro athletes have been turning to Twitch and other streaming platforms. Even the Phoenix Suns have joined in by playing their scheduled NBA games with the help of NBA2K.
Streaming Services Are Gaining Popularity
You could say that it all started with Luka Doncic asking for assistance with streaming. His Twitter followers were quick to help him out but then other players joined the bandwagon. To be fair, Josh Hearth was already streaming a day before and he can still be found on Twitch every now and then. Alex Caruso was busy playing FIFA, Fortnite, and COD while De’Aron Fox was teasing a stream on the same day. All in all, the NBA fans had enough entertainment to get through this tough time when we all need to deal with quarantine.
Celebrities joining the streaming community isn’t the only thing that changed in the eSports world. COVID-19 has brought changes in other sports as well. Apparently, pro drivers are competing with gamers after F1 and NASCAR canceled some races. As the Verge reports, the viewership on Twitch peaked at 23,000 concurrent viewers and brought in over 70,000 unique viewers over the two-hour broadcast. Just like that, virtual sports became a necessity.
Since most viewers and players are at home, a spike in popularity was to be expected on Twitch and many other streaming platforms. For comparison, Dota 2 has had 43 thousand peak viewers at the beginning of November, while that number went up to 364K on January 26 when the new patch was released.
When it comes to channels, the peak was at 900 channels while that number has climbed to 1405 on March 21st with no signs of slowing down. The stats are very similar for other competitive games as well.
Not Just a Numbers Game
The COVID-19 outbreak didn’t only inflate the numbers for games, it brought many communities together and brought the best out of people. Reports are coming in that popular Fortnite streamer Ninja donated $150,000 For COVID-19 Relief.
Those who don’t have money to donate have put their gaming rigs to work by donating the processing power to an international effort researching diseases including the novel coronavirus, as well as cancer and Alzheimer’s. CPUs and GPUs aren’t only used for pixel processing. They can be valuable tools in medicine, as we can see in this particular case. As Sky News reported, the initiative was introduced by Folding@home:
The Folding@home (F@h) project is a distributed computing research program that uses the idle resources of thousands of volunteers’ personal computers to simulate the molecular dynamics of protein folding.
The Gaming Stock Market is Responding
Many have expected a surge in video game stock prices during the quarantine period worldwide but a global economic crisis made sure that they are at a loss as well. When compared to traditional stocks, the downtrend isn’t as bad as you would expect. For comparison, Activision Blizzard has seen its stock price fall just 6.5% year-to-date as of midday Tuesday while the Nasdaq was down 19.6%. Take-Two Interactive, the publisher of Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption 2, was down 6.4% just a few days ago. It may seem that they are loosing in valuation but when you consider the current financial situation globally, the video game industry is looking better than ever.
A Surge In Player Numbers
Lastly, when it comes to sales, video games have seen their best period in years. Activision Blizzard has released Call Of Duty Warzone on March 10th and reports are saying that the game is played by more than 30 million players today. This makes Warzone the fastest growing free-to-play game in the industry, leaving APEX legends behind which hit 25 million players after its first week back in February 2019. This trend is expected to continue with other titles and publishers which will bring in new players on a daily basis. If the quarantine period gets extended worldwide, we could be seeing historical numbers in the industry.
The Coronavirus is definitely something we should all be battling together by staying indoors and enjoying the titles we never had time to finish. While it is a huge hit for humanity and the global economy, this period of time could potentially become the most prosperous time in the video game history to date.