Social Distancing Is Accelerating the Gaming and Esports Landscape

Overview Despite disruptions in supply chains and cancellations of in-person events due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, the esports and gaming industry has been booming.

Even before stay-at-home orders were in place, the population of U.S. gamers was significant and on the rise, with 192 million gamers, according to research from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®. And as the coronavirus pandemic put in-person meetings on hiatus, people turned to games for engagement, motivation and social time.

The biweekly CTA Tech Use and Purchase Tracker: COVID-19 Impact monitors consumer usage and purchases across technology categories, including gaming devices, during the COVID-19 outbreak. The gaming and esports industry has grown rapidly in the past few months to meet the increased interest.

 

Examples at Play

Gaming and esports platforms have had the opportunity to spread into education, professional settings and more. While popular virtual meeting platforms such as Zoom are seeing increased usage, some companies have opted for more interesting environments.

  • Education – Action-adventure game Assassin’s Creed developed Discovery Tours as an educational platform for learning history. The Discovery Tour mode allows users to explore ancient Egypt without being interrupted by combat or quests — essentially a virtual museum with guided tours and sites.

  • Work meetings – One company’s employees turned to the 2018 cowboy game Red Dead Redemption 2 to hold meetings and conferences. Grabbing seats around a virtual campfire and riding off on horses when the meeting is over has provided the employees with a more engaging way to talk business and build company culture.

  • Sports simulations – As many traditional sports games were cancelled, professional leagues and athletes have turned to esports and gaming platforms to keep fans — and themselves — engaged during the pandemic.

 
Anticipating an Exciting Future

Even as some professional sports are set to resume soon, it remains to be seen if the world of esports will supplement the space left by the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympic games and create new opportunities for athletes and fans to engage with the sports they love.

Innovations of different aspects of gaming, from virtual reality to 5G, can spark further enhancements in gaming and esports, improving video quality, decreasing latency and creating more stimulating user experiences.

At CES 2021, consoles, software and technologies that are built to integrate with gaming will be on display. Gaming was the third most mentioned theme on social media at CES 2020, and we are excited to welcome leaders in the space to usher in the next generation of gaming.

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