COVID-19 has made a significant impact on our lives, and no industry has gone unaffected. Lockdown and self-isolation have led to a rapid increase in the need for entertainment. Even though some countries have been easing the quarantine restrictions, the entertainment sphere is still suffering. Cinemas, concert halls, and theaters have closed their doors. Life has moved online in many aspects - where companies like Disney stream their major releases like the live-action version of Mulan.
The changes dramatically affect the mobile games market as well. The reason? Games are the most affordable entertainment where your money goes a long way. Games are also the quickest way to relax and have fun. Let's take a look at the impact of COVID-19 on the games and apps sector.
Increase in player engagement
The mobile gaming industry has witnessed a massive spike in download numbers. The time spent playing mobile games has also skyrocketed. New users who have never played games before are becoming loyal gamers. Why is this happening? People have more time to play for one; more importantly - people are looking for ways to escape reality. But why mobile games?
Traditionally the core market for gamers was associated with PC and console gaming. Today we see players turning to portable devices to play games even when they are stuck at home (with access to their PC). The reason is simple - accessibility and ease of use. Mobile games offer lighter gameplay that is easy to pick up and enjoy. It takes seconds to start a game session - the device is already in your hand.
These trends indicate a new era for mobile games as they're becoming more and more of a mainstream pastime.
Games as a means of escapism
As mentioned, more people feel the need to seek distraction and relief from the world's unpleasant realities. Many of us experience lockdown or following the social distancing rules to minimize our time spent away from home, which leaves us in solitude.
Games give us a way to break from current problems by exploring far, strange, and expansive worlds. They also provide a feeling of control, as players become the heroes of their own stories.
For this reason, players are looking for games that allow them control over their character's look and action. Other popular genres are games where you can change to the surroundings - build manors, decorate gardens, pick fruits, craft clothes, or fish.
Last, players seek comfort and less stress, as they already have enough of it in their day-to-day.
Players seek either calming activities or those that allow them to safely explore, create, or live in different worlds. A sense of safety seems to be the key.
Social interaction in games
Practicing social distancing and observing stay at home orders has prompted many people to interact with friends and loved ones through simple multiplayer games. This does not necessarily mean serious video games. Social features are one of the cornerstones of the majority of today's mobile games. They encourage cooperative and competitive online play and are a new way to socialize with friends or family. In a campaign called #PlayApartTogether, many gaming companies have raised awareness about the importance of physical distancing. They promote connecting socially with others through games.
Trending game genres
While players are spending more time playing mobile games than ever before, specific genres have grown the most since the quarantine began. These are shooters, gambling games, arcades, platformers, and battle royale.
The popularity of shooters can again be explained by the realities of the lockdown period. First of all, these are squad-based games where communication and interaction are key. Their cross-platform systems make it easy to play with friends. The action also takes place in a vast open world, the world that we miss so much nowadays.
Due to the cancellation of sports and other large-scale events, many fans turn to sports games. These are a good substitute for engaging with teams, competing with rivalries, and celebrating victories. Besides, more people are watching streamed sports gaming content.
Effective Live Ops strategies
Players tend to use games as a means of social activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a consequence, they're interested in growing products rather than games without Live Ops. Many developers react quickly to this changing global environment. Various types of events, contests, and campaigns have been observed across mobile games, regardless of region or genre.
The lockdown brought in massive opportunities for e-commerce. Whether it's an online grocery or fashionable clothes, accessories, and shoe stores, online sales have reached a new peak. Although many shops are already open, it is still recommended to avoid going out and maintain social distancing. E-commerce apps are a one-of-a-kind opportunity for businesses to stay afloat while their physical premises remain closed.
Taking care of your health and wellness should never take a backseat, no matter what happens in the world. More and more people are stuck at home but still want to improve their well-being, download fitness apps. They have a variety of workouts designed for different purposes. They also provide coaching and offer motivation. This is convenient because these workouts often do not require special equipment. Users can track and record their achievements and even brag about them on social media.
The demand for video conferencing and collaboration apps has never been greater. Working from home and not being able to meet friends made us turn to various new platforms. Whether it's a serious job interview, solving work issues with colleagues, or having fun conversations with our loved ones, these apps have changed our lives.
The spread of the coronavirus around the world has left many people in a state of uncertainty. Some may be feeling stressed, nervous, or lonely. The situation is triggering anxiety in those who have never experienced it. Science has proven that practicing meditation can reduce stress and help find Zen amid chaos. As a result, meditation apps are especially useful in times of crisis. They help maintain a positive attitude, encourage you to take short 5-minute breaks to relax, and shut off your brain before bedtime. Typically, in addition to short mindfulness activities, such apps incorporate soundscapes and music for a more immersive experience.
In the new era of social distancing, people crave human connections. They are more interested in making connections now than before. Digital technologies are created to fill the social void. Individuals who were busy with their busy schedules now have more time for meaningful conversations. What's more, they are eager to find long-term relationships. Since people can't meet in person, many of us get used to the fact that it is possible to find someone on the Internet. As a consequence, dating app usage has skyrocketed.
News aggregator apps
While this may not be the most entertaining thing to do, it is essential to stay informed during any crisis. News apps have recorded a significant increase in downloads during this period. Their users seek information about the coronavirus, its spread. They want to be up to date on what's going on in the world.
Learning from home
Some people prefer to use the free time they have to improve themselves. There are many educational apps with video lectures on a range of topics. No matter what area of expertise you're interested in, the collections range from cooking to science, from singing courses to learning foreign languages. They teach challenging topics through fun and intuitive games. As a rule, these courses' education content comes from leading schools, universities, museums, and cultural institutions.
Apps for art and culture
Because the world is changing rapidly every day, the power of culture and the value of keeping up with it is immense. More and more people are interested in those apps to take virtual trips to the world's iconic museums. Pandemic brings travel to a standstill, so users are looking for new ways to visit different cities, parks, and even zoos right from the comfort of their own homes.
We've put together a collection of Whaleapp games that will help you pass the time, relax, and distract yourself from the current situation in the world. They're sure to reduce stress during these troubled times.
Holiday travel looks different this year. Traveling Blast lets you go to any city in the world safely and for free! Decide which city to visit next - New York, London, Prague, Paris, or Tokyo! Explore all the hidden corners of the world and get rid of everyday stress at the same time!
Build the best resort on your tropical island with Resort Hotel: Bay Story! Repair old buildings, build new tourist facilities, create a perfect garden design, and decorate tropical locations. Upgrade your Resort Hotel to be the luxury vacation destination everyone dreams of visiting!
Enjoy the trendy card game Solitaire: Texas Village with a variety of levels. Tricky Tripeaks mechanics will tease your brain, while a cute romantic story will melt your heart. Create a gorgeous home design and give yourself the most relaxing experience!
Last but not least
The industry has experienced a boom in recent months. This happens because people are looking for ways to keep themselves occupied when they can't venture outside. Nevertheless, developers need to stay on their toes for what's to expect in the coming months. Many players are stuck in their homes, so they need even more content, events, and gifts. It would be a really positive thing to encourage public health behaviors in the games too.
Without a doubt, this is an unusual time with a lot of shifts taking place. Still, the pandemic has also spurred tremendous creativity and innovation in our sphere. Let's take this opportunity to contribute to an ever-evolving industry.
Take care of yourself, your loved ones, and your friends! ❤️
Written by: Anna Naumovych