COVID-19 Pandemic and the Gaming Industry - What Has Changed? - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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COVID-19 Pandemic and the Gaming Industry - What Has Changed?

At the beginning of 2020, no one could have thought just how much the world would change in just three months. In March we were facing something that our generation never even thought to be possible; a global pandemic. Covid-19 changed the world and we had to adapt.

With all large gatherings being considered dangerous, events of all sorts were canceled. Everything from social gatherings to concerts and sports events were stopped, and many industries suffered. However, we didn’t have much time to grieve. In order to survive, most businesses had to think of different ways to conduct their business operations. Including the gaming industry.

With all sports events canceled and land-based casinos closed, the iGaming industry started prioritizing online and mobile gaming, as well as eSports and virtual events.

The Rise of Online Gaming
The popularity of online gaming had already been on the rise even before the pandemic. Online casino gambling gave everyone a chance to enjoy their favorite casino games without having to travel far to find a brick-and-mortar casino. Everything from slots to online poker was now only a few clicks away. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic, even the players who were used to visiting land-based casinos were only limited to the online version of casino games. The transition to online casino games was almost instant. According to Global Poker research firm, only in the US, there was a growth in the number of first-time online poker players by 255% since the lockdown began.

Mobile Gaming and Gambling
The rise in online gaming left plenty of opportunities for mobile game developers to grow their user base. Nowadays, use their smartphones for nearly all aspects of their everyday lives, entertainment included. Mobile gaming was the perfect solution for players who are constantly on the go and want to spend their free time playing a game or two. Moreover, mobile gaming of any kind is more convenient, since everything you need fits the palm of your hand. With most of the world in lockdown, everyone turned to their smartphones when in need of some distraction. This has led to the legalization of online and mobile gambling in different countries that were no longer in the position to deny the economic benefits that this phenomenon could bring.

Esports Breakthrough
One of the most impacted branches of the iGaming industry during the Covid-19 pandemic was eSports. Streaming platforms like Steam have already proven the potential of eSport events, with millions of viewers joining in on a daily basis to see their beloved players compete in LoL, CS: GO, and Dota 2 events. However, betting on these types of events hadn’t been popular, especially among sports fans who simply preferred real-life to virtual competitions. Even though betting eSports events had been a part of online sportsbooks for a long time, they had pretty much the same demographic (meaning people not older than 25) up until the pandemic started.

The cancellation of all sports events left sports fans with two options - watching old matches and games all over again or hopping on the train called “the eSports frenzy”. And most of them chose the latter. This growing interest in eSports events made a significant change for both individual players and teams, who were now the main point of interest of different sponsors and marketing companies. The number of eSports events tripled, and there was a breakthrough of eSports events like FIFA and NBA 2K that hadn’t been very popular before.

However, the sudden growth in popularity during the pandemic also revealed some issues in the eSports industry, (like the need for a governing body that will control possible fraudulent actions or the complexity of MOBA games rules for an ordinary bettor) that have to be resolved in the nearest future so that it can continue its further development.

Covid-19 pandemic affected the Gaming industry in different ways. However, this industry was quick to adapt to this situation, which resulted in the development of online and mobile gaming, as well as rapid growth in the popularity of eSports. Will this rise of the online gaming industry bring more interesting things for the future online players or will traditional casino players and sports bettors abandon online platforms once the pandemic is over? We cannot tell for sure. But there’s one thing that we now do know. And that is, that online gaming is the future and it’s here to stay.

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