KEY POINTS

  • Video game makers are able to increase monetization of usage as communities get isolated
  • Daily active users of “Honor of Kings” rose to 100 million from 65 million
  • Virus could affect global gaming industry in long term as most artworks come from China

While coronavirus continues its march across China forcing an increasing number of people into isolation, it’s not just the facemask vendors who are doing well. Video game sales is soaring as people locked up in quarantine pounce on anything to keep the blues of isolation away, media reports say.

The new coronavirus has infected more than 30,000 people in Mainland China and caused nearly 500 deaths, even while spreading to about two dozen nations.

“A very popular game in China known as 'Honor of Kings,' which made roughly $286 million a day in the past two weeks, was able to peak at $392 million,” FOX Business quoted Gamer World News entertainment host Rob Steinberg as saying.

Steinberg added that even though it may be in the short term, the virus is driving sales in the Chinese video games market. Since the beginning of January, trends in the Chinese video game industry have been shifting in a positive direction, according to Steinberg.

The daily active users of another popular game “Honor of Kings” rose to 100 million from 65 million, as per Steinberg. In China, more than 682 million people play video games, Statista says. More than 50 percent of the country will play games by 2024, according to estimates.

Gamers’ profile has also changed drastically since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, reports suggest. Along with the sheer increase in the volume of gaming, the game makers are increasingly able to monetize the use as the gamers trapped at home for long hours, Steinberg said. This, according to him, is largely done through in-game purchases and “peripheral” aspects activities.

“We’ve seen in the top 10 to 50 games that the game sales themselves have surged about 100% since January 23. That includes games like, you know, Blizzard-Activision’s 'Call of Duty Mobile,'” the report quoted Steinberg as saying.

While the surge in gaming in China is positive for the global gaming industry, there are suggestions that the long-term effect of the virus would be negative. Estimates show that up to 50% of all the artwork driving the games industry — including artwork for large companies like Activision, Ubisoft, and Blizzard — comes out of China. The isolation of Chinese provinces, including the major industrial hubs, could have a negative impact in the long term.

“If in the long term this affects people from going into work, it could have a detrimental effect on games coming out here in the West,” Steinberg said.