According to data from Verizon, U.S. residents quarantined thanks to the ongoing Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic are increasingly turning to a tried and true mode of modern entertainment: Videogaming. Across Verizon’s web traffic, gaming has absolutely surged during peak hours—up more than a whopping 75% according to the cable/internet giant. Data from other ISPs hasn’t been provided, but it’s probably safe to assume that people all over are firing up their Playstation, Xbox and Switch consoles as well.
“As we see more and more individuals work from home and students engage in online learning, it is a natural byproduct that we would see an increase in web traffic and access to VPN. And as more entertainment options are cancelled in communities across the U.S., an increase in video traffic and online gaming is not surprising,” said Kyle Malady, chief technology officer for Verizon, in a statement.
That increased use has meant something of a reprieve for game industry companies, in comparison with the overall tumult that has gripped global markets in the last few weeks.
“People are staying indoors for sure, so by logical extension, they’re engaged in indoor activities to a greater extent than before,” Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said to The Hollywood Reporter. “That suggests greater gaming activity. Share prices for game publishers have held up relatively well in the market malaise, so it appears that investors believe people are playing more.”
Many other forms of internet usage have likewise increased to varying degrees, according to Verizon’s data. Video streaming is up by about 12%, while overall web traffic is up almost 20%, which is a pretty significant number for an activity that had already consumed so much of our lives. VPN usage was likewise up 34%, a likely result of so many office workers now operating out of their homes. One area that interestingly didn’t see a boost in Verizon’s data, however, was social media sites … suggesting that most of us were already using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as much as we possibly could, even before quarantines went into effect.
It’s videogames, however, that seem to have seen the most meteoric rise in use, which has to make one wonder: What is everyone playing during the pandemic? And how might this surge of use impact consumer tastes in videogames for the next few months?