Lives of people across the globe have been turned upside down by social distancing initiatives, and even more strict lockdowns have been put in place to prevent coronavirus transmission. Some people use the solitude to try new hobbies or finish household tasks that have been long overdue. My wife starts herb garden.
Millions of people are also turning to video games.
Anecdotal evidence is piling up that people are flocking to video games, along with streaming services like Netflix, to escape the seemingly nonstop crush of news and tracking data about COVID-19.
Hordes of folks are playing online battle games like Fortnite: Battle Royale and Call of Duty: Warzone. They’re buying games like Nintendo’s new Animal Crossing: New Horizons at record rates. They’re spending more when they download titles on their phones. And they’re also whiling away an aggregated 10 million more hours each day watching other gamers play online through the streaming site Twitch.tv.
Much of this has been made possible by game companies spending the past decade building more social features into their titles. Companies have encouraged people to play together online, share their gameplay on Twitch and YouTube and use games as a digital meeting spot for hanging out or even catching an in-game concert.