COVID-19 will have a short-lived positive impact on gaming, but not all companies will benefit. Sony is the most exposed, because games such as The Last of Us Part II and Iron Man VR have been delayed indefinitely, and the upcoming PS5 is expected to miss the holiday season in 2020, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Rupantar Guha, Senior Analyst of Thematic Research at GlobalData, comments: “The lockdown in China caused a 39% increase in global mobile game downloads in February 2020, according to Sensor Tower. The number of concurrent users on the video game platform Steam hit 23.5 million by the end of March. Esports could also fill a hole for many sports fans, given the cancellation of live sporting events.
“However, the medium-to-long-term picture may not be so rosy. Trade events where new consoles and games are launched have been canceled, hardware and software production has been delayed, and dozens of esports tournaments have been cancelled, postponed or run behind closed doors. In addition, game art designers are operating below capacity, network providers are struggling to keep up with demand, and several independent developers face an existential threat.”
GlobalData’s new sector scorecard report, COVID-19 Impact on Gaming Software, reveals that long-term winners in the sector are Tencent, Epic Games, Valve and Activision Blizzard thanks to their well-performing games and distribution platforms. At the same time, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo bear the brunt because their console supply chains have been disrupted.