Corona Virus’ effect on gaming

If you are able to read this article it means you have internet access. Which means you know about COVID-19 or the Corona Virus and its high rate of infection. You should also be familiar with the self-isolation that is being promoted as a means to slow and hopefully stop the spread. So what is the Corona Virus’ effect on gaming? As with most things, it’s varied but we’re going to try and focus on the positives as there are more than enough negative stories already.

Corona Virus

Corona Virus and self-isolation

First off, the main thing that stands out is the self-isolation. With people encouraged to stay at home and away from other people as much as possible. This means that a lot of people are working from home via their PC’s, which is also where a lot of games can be accessed. Due to this Steam actually posted a record number of concurrent users. According to Steam’s official statistics page, the peak was 20,313,476 players on March 15th. But even that record was shortly broken with a new peak of 20,676,295. With tension still high and no signs of it lowering any time soon, these numbers may continue to hold or potentially even grow.

So the number of gamers or people able to game has increased. That’s the first thing we know. But the number of gamers is only one factor so far. Unfortunately, Steam sales figures are not made public so we can only theorize at this stage on the relationship between concurrent users and purchases. One thing we do know though is the most popular games during this period. Unsurprisingly, the top spots are generally taken by free games such as CS:GO and Dota 2. However, other games making the list are Monster Hunter World, PUBG and GTA V. Borderlands 3 also made the list of the top 100, seeing as it was only made available on Steam on March 14th this would indicate at least a moderate amount of purchases on Steam.

Incentives to Stay Home

As mentioned above, a lot of the most popular Steam games over this period (and in general), are free to play. There are a number of free games out there including our Steam and Nintendo Switch lists. But developers and publishers have been doing their part in incentivizing gamers to stay home. With a ton of heavily discounted and temporarily free games. Some like Hazel Sky and Elden that aren’t even out yet are offering temporary free demos. Others like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey are offering temporary free play of the full game. And then you have places outside of Steam such as itch.io where many of their developers are offering their games for free or heavily discounted. A handy collection has been created and all free games can be added to your collection as long as you link them during this period.

In addition to Steam and itch.io offers GOG has also compiled a list of free games to enjoy over this period. So even if you’re cooped up at home there should still be plenty to do. And if you don’t find anything in the free lists. Well, Steam, Epic and GOG are running sales too. Plus Epic Games has a few free games and do free game giveaways every two weeks.

And lastly, there are always articles to read on both SipReadRepeat and our sister site SwitchWatch. Keep gaming, drinking coffee and above all, stay safe.

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