“Boyjedi, Slimeschock and Eletrikk are competing. You have only one goal: to run faster than 97 other competitors through a virtual maze. In the process, they mess up with pixelated swords and chatter excitedly.
The digital competition in the computer game “Minecraft” has been announced by the Internet star “Mr. Beast”, whose videos are watched by hundreds of millions of people every month. In the Corona crisis, its intake may have been particularly high.
The motto: Together, one is less alone – and this form of closeness has been found by millions of people in front of the computer in recent months.
An evaluation by the online and mobile game provider Media and Games Invest shows how big the video game boom is – and that it is also reflected in the cash registers of the providers. One result: Registrations for online games rose 43 percent in April compared to the first two months of the year.
Under normal circumstances, the number will fall in the spring due to better weather, the company said. The interest in “Massively Multiplayer Online Games” is particularly strong, in which players play spatially separated from each other, but still play together. The increase was 35 percent in March and 75 percent in April compared to the previous winter months.
“The digital exchange in these games has obviously replaced the direct contact between people during the hard lockdown in parts,” says Remco Westermann, head of Media and Games Invest. In parallel with the stagnation of social life, the number of users also increased.
On average, five million people worldwide gamble on his company’s games. Not only the new registrations increased, but also the number of active gamblers: in April 2020 it was 31 percent higher than the average of the otherwise much stronger months of January and February. And an initial forecast already shows that, despite the easing, the number of players remains significantly higher than in the previous year.
Added to this are the crowds that others only watch as they gamble: the competitive video game viewer market is projected to grow to 495 million people worldwide by 2020.
The US company Twitch, a live broadcast platform for games, has benefited most recently. The number of hours users consumed within a month doubled in April compared to the previous year – to just under 1.5 billion.
In spite of the pandemic, gamblers showed themselves ready to pay. Game developers are among the crisis winners in the markets. In April, players spent 56 percent more money in Media and Games Invest’s online games than at the start of the year. Average expenditure is in the double-digit euro range per month.
This trend is also attracting investors: the VanEck “Video Gaming and eSports” ETF (WKN: A2PLDF) includes the largest companies that make their money with video games and digital sports – such as Electronic Arts or Nintendo. It was launched in June last year and has since climbed by almost 51 per cent, rising.