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Video game industry feels squeezed after pandemic boom │ GMA News Online

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SAN FRANCISCO — During the pandemic, video games offered solace to the isolated. But with the slow return to pre-crisis normalcy and skyrocketing inflation, game companies are feeling the pinch.

Manufacturers of consoles, accessories, and gaming software are experiencing the same sort of post-pandemic impact as tech giants, whose business boomed while COVID-19 fears kept people from home.

Fueled by skyrocketing inflation and gaming fatigue after years of relying on indoor entertainment, the squeeze is exacerbated.

Early in the pandemic, “thousands of people flocked to Twitch, streamers and viewers alike,” said gamers, who go by the handle “BWpaco,” on the Amazon-owned platform that broadcasts video game action. said Brandon Williams.

“But I’ve spoken to quite a few people who stopped streaming because they were burned out or because it wasn’t for them,” the 30-year-old streamer added.

“Or they just went straight back to work and they don’t have time anymore.”

According to, Twitch viewership, which surged during the pandemic, has declined but remains above 2019.

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Matt Piscatella, an analyst at the market research group NPD, estimates that Americans will spend about $55.5 billion on games this year, down from last year but up 28% from pre-pandemic 2019. .

US video game giant Activision Blizzard, which is being acquired by Microsoft, reports a decline in sales in the first half of this year.

Nvidia, the California maker of high-performance graphics cards popular with gamers, recently issued a revenue warning, citing “declining video game revenues.”

Even spending on mobile games is showing signs of weakening, analysts say.

“Rising prices in categories of mundane spending such as food and gas, a resurgence in experiential spending such as travel and attending live events, lighter release schedules for new games, and the continued rise in new generation console hardware. Supply constraints are all likely responsible for the decline we saw in the second quarter,” Piscatella said.

Omdia analyst Stephen Bailey said the delayed releases of highly anticipated titles like ‘Starfield’ and ‘Suicide Squad’ also contributed to the ‘fix’ of the inevitable pandemic boom. .


The impact of new titles on video game sales is a wild card likely to benefit the industry going forward. Because players usually flock to get their hands on Hot Her releases.

Piscatella said he expects the video game market to stabilize over the next year and then return to steady growth.

Rising costs of living due to inflation are forcing gamers to make choices with their money, but that doesn’t mean they’re abandoning gaming.

More than three-quarters of U.S. consumers play video games, Piscatella said, and subscription services such as Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Plus help cut costs.

The pandemic’s impact on video game play goes beyond the realm of economics, causing a trend among players to seek “comfort games” that emphasize cooperation over competition.

The proliferation of Nintendo’s Animal Crossing games dedicated to community building is an example of this phenomenon, with players banding together to maintain virtual towns.

And according to streamer BWpaco, viewers are now listening to Twitch channels like they’re on the radio while their attention is on other things.

“They just lurk,” said the streamer.

“I feel things have opened up again now. People are busier and have it as background noise.” — AFP