As soon as people were ordered to stay home in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, consumers have had a number of ways to spend their added time at home—including play games. As the chart below shows, the increases in gaming revenue has been huge, month to month, since March. In March of this year, gaming, over March of 2019, is up 34% in spending. In April of this year, gaming was up 73% over last year, same month. And this past month, May, was up 53% over May of 2019.

“Video game engagement and revenue across all platforms, including console, PC, mobile, and VR, grew globally during the Covid-19 lockdown. Video gaming is considered an affordable and accessible form of entertainment, and existing and new gamers across all demographic groups found emotional and social support in these virtual worlds. The digital transition that began a decade ago through digital downloads, games-as-services, and mobile app stores has paid off for the industry,” said Michael Cai, president of Interpret, a global video game insights agency.

Stan Kwon, CEO of Beta Hat, a market and consumer insights agency specializing in gaming, media, and emerging technologies, confirmed the rise in gaming over the last few months. “Based on a recent survey we conducted among adult gamers in the U.S., almost 60% say that they’re spending more time playing games now than they were prior to stay-at-home orders going into effect.” Kwon also reported that he sees Americans “choosing to play a wider variety of games rather than sticking to the same games they were playing before” the stay-at-home order.

Further evidence of the rise in consumer engagement with gaming during this pandemic is that Unity Technologies, the real-time 3D software development platform company, has reported that mobile game ad revenue grew 59% during April 2020 compared to April the year earlier. Unity has also reported that in-app purchases in games rose 24% in March and April of this year.

There are many different types of games available to consumers on consoles, computers, and their smartphones. About 70% of the U.S. population at least occasionally plays some sort of video or mobile game. The breadth of games available to consumers are shown in this chart that looks at the most popular game titles over the years.

Rob Dyer, chief operating officer of Capcom in the U.S., spoke to the increase in gaming seen worldwide. “While we believe there has been an increase in the frequency of people playing games given the current restrictions on going outdoors, it is possible that less leisure time will be available in the future due to factors such as reduced summer vacation time.” Dyer went on to say, “We hope our games will continue to be a source of enjoyment for people everywhere facing these challenging times.”

While it is clear that consumer engagement with gaming has increased as people have had more time at home, but what will happen when the world goes “back to normal” and time at home goes down? Michael Pachter, research analyst at Wedbush Securities and a well-known expert in the field of gaming, points out, “It’s incumbent on the gaming companies to retain the new and lapsed players” down the road.

Originally posted on Forbes

Sadly, we won’t be watching or attending any sports games for awhile (quite awhile?), but luckily your phone will help you with your “sports fix”.  New mobile sports games will be coming out from Nifty Games this year. Nifty Games is based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

NFL has announced that they have signed a deal with Nifty games to publish a head-to-head football title called NFL Clash that is set to debut later this year. This is in addition to the Nifty NBA Clash game that is currently in development and planned for release this year as well.

The logo for the new NFL Clash game to be released in 2020.

NFL Clash game logo

 NIFTY GAMES

Picture of Nifty Games, CEO, Jon Middleton.

 

 

 

In an interview with me, Jon Middleton said, “The competitive nature of clash-style games are a lock and key fit for mobile sports games. We will be bringing NBA and NFL Clash games to sports fans around the globe, as they compete head to head with teams comprised of their favorite pro athletes.”

Jon also talked about the early founding of Nifty Games, (It) “was founded out of a love of sports – and sports games. I grew up playing sports, watching a ton of sports on TV and my co-founder, Pete Wanat and I have been in way too many fantasy baseball and football leagues together over the years.” Clearly, Jon is a real sports fanboy!

Jon also spoke about how sports games have evolved over the years and he seems worried that the blockbuster console sports games are too real. As he said “as the games market has grown and become mass market entertainment, the sports game market has actually reduced and is laser focused on simulation and realism. While this has led to some of the greatest games of all time with the Madden, 2K and FIFA franchises, the need to improve fidelity and test the limits of gaming consoles also exposed a massive opportunity in the fastest growing and now largest videogame sector…Mobile.”

Long-term Jon sees Nifty games producing more head to head mobile quick-session sports games. As we progress, we’ll stay focused on delivering fun, authentic sports games to fans around the world with their favorite players, teams and leagues as partners. The long term goal is to build the largest competitive community of sports fans on the planet. We’re excited about the future, with mobile gaming we’ve got access to most every sports fan, of every sport, everywhere.” 

Nifty also announced that they have closed a $12 million Series A fundraising round led by March Capital Partners. Defy Partners, aXiomatic Gaming, Vulcan Capital, Courtside Ventures, Transcend Fund, Century Game and OneTeam Ventures also participated in the round. Nifty Games closed a $3 million seed round late in 2018.