Video games continue to be the go-to entertainment for people in quarantine amid the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, with record sales and massive levels of engagement in April and May.
According to market research firm the NPD Group, April was another massive month for the industry, with sales totaling $1.5 billion, 73% higher than last year and besting the previous record for the month in 2008.
New releases are becoming immediate blockbusters, with Nintendo’s life simulator Animal Crossing: New Horizons selling a staggering 13.4 million copies in its first six weeks of launch and Square Enix’s long-awaited Final Fantasy VII Remake becoming the top game of April with the best launch month in the 32-year-old franchise, according to the NPD Group.
Major game companies are enjoying improved performance in the stock market, including Activision Blizzard (up 25% year-to-date), Electronic Arts (12%) and Take-Two (15%), as well as Nintendo (3%), which dealt with hardware manufacturing delays for its red-hot Switch console.
Since the start of the pandemic, people sought out games as a means to socialize with others in quarantine, with continuing examples being House Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) using Animal Crossing in May to interact with strangers and giving her first ever commencement address.
Epic Games last month hosted a Travis Scott performance in its hit battle royale game Fortnite that was attended by nearly 28 million players in total, peaking with over 12.3 million people concurrently.
Sony and Microsoft have also begun to reveal more about their new consoles which are still set for release this holiday, with Sony additionally hyping two major first-party releases for the summer, The Last of Us Part II (about a pandemic no less) on June 19 and Ghost of Tsushima on July 17.