Online gaming, e-sports boom amid COVID-19 pandemic

By Guo Yiming
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, July 31, 2020
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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold across the globe, people are spending more time and money on games to fill the empty hours of lockdown and isolation.

Perfect World, China’s entertainment conglomerate, unveils its booth in ChinaJoy, Asia's biggest game event, in Shanghai, July 31, 2020. [Photo/]

According to a report released at the 2020 China Digital Entertainment Congress in Shanghai, China's gaming industry has so far seen actual sales revenue of 139.49 billion yuan ($19.99 billion), up 22.34% year-on-year. 

It's almost the same picture globally, as the gaming market is more immune to the COVID-19 crisis than other sectors in the entertainment industry. 

According to the Newzoo 2020 Global Games Market Report, the global video game market this year is forecast to be worth $159 billion, around four times cinema/theater box office revenues ($43 billion in 2019) and almost three times music industry revenues ($57 billion in 2019). 

The COVID-19 lockdown has brought new opportunities for internet applications and online entertainment as the demand and user base continue to grow, according to Zhang Yijun, first vice chairman of the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association (CADPA). 

"It also promoting technological upgrades, content innovation and globalization in China's gaming sector," he said.

According to the report, games developed by Chinese companies have seen their overseas revenue grow to $7.59 billion in the first half of the year (H1), compared to $6.02 billion in H2 last year. 

The United States, Japan and South Korea are the major markets for China's game companies, accounting for over 60% of their total overseas revenue. Strategy, shooter and role-playing games are the most popular,.

The global pandemic has accelerated the pace of digitalization, said Dr. Robert H. Xiao, CEO of China's gaming giant Perfect World. "Almost all sectors are finding ways to migrate their offerings online and apply new technologies to their businesses."

He said digital transformation will continue in the gaming sector, and 5G technologies and next-generation telecom infrastructure are laying a strong foundation for technological upgrades in cloud gaming and e-sports. 

"Cloud gaming and e-sports are the future," he observed. With improvement in 5G, virtual and augmented reality technologies, high-quality cloud games will become more accessible across devices and platforms, and e-sports competitions, even via the computer screen, can deliver more immersive and thrilling experience to the audience. 

Statistics show sales revenue of cloud gaming and e-sports in H1 registered 403 million yuan and 71.93 million yuan, up by 79.35% and 53.69% respectively.

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