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April 18, 2021
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Impact of COVID-19 on Jobs in Gaming Industry: Bane or Boon?

by Matt Nicholas on 05/28/20 10:00:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Gaming industry has been on a boom for the past few years. With AI and AR becoming more and more advanced, things were falling in favor of the 150-billion-dollar industry.  

Then came the pandemic!

While the global lockdown happened, everyone turned towards online gaming not only because it’s a good pastime but also to spend time with their loved ones who they can't meet personally.

On one hand, people are playing interactive games on apps like Houseparty, Animal Crossing etc while on the other hand, they are challenging each other even for idle games like Click Speed Test, Time clickers etc.

As more and more people jumped into games, the industry has seen an unprecedented spike!

An Unprecedented Spike

According to the latest study by one of the largest mobile game ad network Pokkt, the mobile game downloads worldwide surged by 39% in Mar 2020. Around 4 million mobile game downloads happened in the month when most of the cities of the world were in lockdown.

On the other hand, Steam hit 20.3 million simultaneous players on 15 March – that's an all-time high statistic for most simultaneous players on the platform.

The US telecom company, Verizon, also reported officially that the gaming traffic on their network shot up 75% in a span of just a week.  

Gaming traffic on Verizon’s network spiked up by 75 percent within a week, the US telco stated officially.

To cash in on this trend, gaming companies have even started releasing their new games as well. Nintendo’s latest release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons happened on Mar 20, 2020 and it has sold more than 13.5 million copies within one month.

In April 2020, the Xbox Game Pass service by Microsoft also crossed the 10 million subscribers and the Xbox Live saw almost 90 million monthly active users.

All these numbers are in favor of the gaming industry like never before!  

As the gaming firms are seeing more demand as well as making more money, the big question is whether this surge translates into more jobs or not?

Will this increase job opportunities in Gaming?

The answer is Yes.

While international firms in all other sectors including FMCG, IT etc saw 10-20% layoffs, the gaming companies retained most of their employees. In fact, many game studios across the world have started hiring for new roles to meet the growing demand.

Recently, Sledgehammer, the studio behind the popular FPS game Call of Duty, announced hiring for 30+ roles for its Melbourne office.

Indeed, a popular job search platform, has listed over 8600 jobs in different gaming studios across the United States. This also includes opportunities that allow work for home.

According to a specialist staffing firm, Xpheno, there are more than 23,000 jobs in the gaming industry in India alone. The Asian country is emerging as the hub of game development as the industry surged during the pandemic.

It is sure that this pandemic is a bane for the world in general with more than 350k deaths but there is clearly a silver lining on the cloud for the gaming industry.

Now, it will depend on the stakeholders of the industry whether they will keep this growth steady or it will fade away as everything starts to get normal in post-pandemic times.

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