Video Games Industry Booms in COVID-19 Pandemic: Nintendo, Zynga, EA & Activision Blizzard

Video games seen a rise in popularity and increase in number of users because COVID-19 pandemic has most of us at home, day in and day out. Although it has adversely impacted many lives and businesses, some industries have profited from the stay-at-home-lifestyle in this global health crisis. Last month, New York Times published a thorough report on changes in Internet usage during coronavirus pandemic in the United States. The report illustrates an impressive increase in video streaming services and video games.

According to Nielsen’s SuperData, video games generated a massive $10 billion revenue for the industry in March this year. We have a concise report of financial performance of Nintendo and Zynga for the 2019-2020 fiscal year and  Epic Games are sources of relief for the masses in the world in lockdown due to coronavirus.

Nintendo – 9% increase in year-to-year revenue

Japanese gaming giant Nintendo revised its revenue forecast to approximately $11.48 billion for the fiscal year ending on 31st March, 2020, owing to its popular console Switch and games. By April, the company had sold 55.7 million Switch units and 75.7 million Nintendo 3DS units. Nintendo’s successful game titles have impressive sales as well to date: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe sold 22.9 million, Super Smash Bro sold 17.68 million, the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sold 16.34 million, and Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield sold 16.6 million copies.

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Judging by the sales in its first 6 weeks, Animal Crossing: New Horizons sold 13.41 million copies, making it the most successful video game in history in terms of digital sales in a calendar month. As people at home explore new ways of entertainment, the decision to release Animal Crossing: New Horizons at this time paid off for the Kyoto-based developer. Despite facing production issues due to the on-going health crisis, the company earned $12.3 billion with a 9% increase in year-over-year revenues for the fiscal year ending on 31st March.

Zynga – 52% increase in 1st Quarter 2020

Mobile developer Zynga reported an estimated $404 million in revenue for January – March 2020 quarter. It is a remarkable 52% increase from the same quarter last year. The rise in revenue generation is directly attributed to high engagement by homebound populace due to COVID-19 pandemic.

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Having said that, the high spike in revenue is not all good news for Zynga. The company acquired two studios for a net worth of $810 million dollars and the current monetary gains will be used for payouts for the studios, which are expected to continue till 2021.

Electronic Arts see increase in net revenue

For the quarter ending on March 31, 2020, EA saw an encouraging rise in year-to-year net revenue to $1.39 billion. A winning combination of old and new titles propelled the company through the pandemic devastations. Currently, the number of players on EA games are impressive:

  • 25 million on FIFA
  • The 20 million players on The Sims at the end of March are continuously growing
  • Madden NFL 20 players engagement scores are at all time high
  • 10 million on Star Wars Jedi:Fallen Order

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The prevailing boom in the games industry delivered more than the expected increase in revenue for EA. Therefore, the company’s 2021 revenues forecast reads $1.22 billion revenue with $270 million net income in the first quarter of 2021 and predicts $5.55 billion revenue with $978 million net income for 2021 fiscal year.

Activision Blizzard earns $1.78 billion in Q1 2020

The California-based American video game company, Activision Blizzard gained $1.78 billion net revenue in the quarter ending on 31 March, 2020. If calculating net revenue with deferred sales, the company earned $2.05. The impressive gains in revenue are due to successfully performing games in the lockdown lifestyle world wide: record breaking in-app sales in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and 60 million active players in Warzone. In addition, massive increase in subscriptions in Hearthstone, World of Warcraft and Overwatch, placed the struggling studio on firm ground.

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All in all, the quarter ending in March 2020 was profitable for the gaming industry collectively. With restricted outdoor activities due to COVID-19 pandemic, people have turned to video games for entertainment and the gaming industry is loving it.

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