In today’s desolate climate, it comes as no surprise people have been turning to games for some semblance of relief. The online gaming industry has been faring relatively well even amidst the COVID disruption as more and more people look for ways to pass their idle time and safely socialise at home, with online gaming quickly becoming an industry standard.
With academic institutions closing and work operating on a work from home model, people have found more time on their hands to take on leisure activities. In a recent digital media trends survey held by Deloitte in 2020, their data found that during the onset of the pandemic a third of consumers have, for the first time in their lives, subscribed to a video gaming service. This was either through an e-sports tournament, a virtual sporting event, or a cloud gaming service.
The accessibility of online games such as betbind.com has turned casual players into dedicated ones, taking advantage of the isolated time and convenience of video game platforms. Game studios and publishers, as well as video streaming platforms, capitalised on this situation by making their services more engaging and easier to follow for recently converted online gamers who wish to cultivate their interest further given their newfound time.
There has been much uncertainty and anxiety surrounding the present pandemic that has led even the most casual of players to seek refuge in online games, which allow them to escape monotony and connect with other gamers alike who share the same sentiments. People are looking for new virtual experiences to make up for the real ones they have lost due to most of society shutting down due to the lockdowns.
The growing wave of interest in online gaming is evidenced by search engines top searches, with people who search for “game app” growing over 100% in over a week or “best online games” rising 100% annually.
Aside from playing, the online community for streamers have also been on a steady rise since the pandemic started. Streaming games has been part of the gaming industry, and an essential part of its fan culture, long before COVID-19 even hit. But it was only due to recent lockdown measures that streaming viewership ratings skyrocketed with gamers looking to watch and comment on other people streaming their gameplay.
YouTube now has a dedicated platform for e-gamers and their fans, much like Twitch, where they have a StayHome #WithMe campaign filled to the brim with content creators inviting their fans to play games alongside them real-time. This innovative way of maintaining a connection with the gaming community has helped people who live alone cope with the loneliness of not being able to physically connect with their friends, so they turn to an online space where their interests are shared by thousands and they can enjoy it together.
- Social gaming
While most people play alone most of the time, social gaming has been a running theme in the online gaming community for years. There are many platforms out there that allow millions of users to play with each other in a single game, with most games now supporting multi-player modes. There is a community connection that exists beyond the screen for these gamers, who have taken it upon themselves to really build rapport with their fellow teammates during co-ed games to make the most out of their gameplay.
Even as they sit for hours on end isolated in their corner of the room, they do not feel the slightest bit lonely. Particularly in Generation Z gamers, who have perfected the art of establishing a relationship with their online gaming friends in and around video games through social media. These gamers do not just compete with strangers on the internet anymore, but at the end of the day have formed genuine, formidable friendships to last through their gambling skills.
- Female gamers
It has been led to believe that for a long time, gaming in itself was primarily associated as a male-dominated leisure activity while girls tended to their Barbies. However, in recent years and especially during COVID, there has been a significant rise in female gamers across the globe. According to Co-Founder of Halla Yalla, Nadeem Baksh, nearly half of all gamers are now women, with 46% of them taking up the spectrum.
Female gamers are excelling in the e-sports gaming industry, with 2020 seeing the formation of the first-ever all-female e-sports team in the Middle East, Galaxy Racer. This five-women team represented the UAE, Iraq, and Pakistan and went on to win Girl Gamer 2020 held in Dubai earlier in that same year.
For most people, the enforced isolation brought about by COVID-19 was a blessing in disguise. The extra time gave them the flexibility to tend to their lives outside of work and cultivate their hobbies more rigorously. In the age of long-haul social distancing and mental health strains, it also led them to stumble upon another digital tool that can offer them some relief from present-day grievances.
From casual online games such as Candy Crush to more hard-core intensive ones like PUBG, the popularity of online games are sure to grow even more this year.