May 11, 2020

Will COVID-19 Influence Demand for Mobile Gaming Devices?

Throughout COVID-19 we have been looking at how the immediate impact of physical distancing and other restrictions translates into longer term, structural change in consumer buying behaviour.

 

Group of diverse friends playing game on mobile phone

 

For example it seems likely that time spent online gaming increased in line with enforced time at home for consumers during various stages of COVID-19, but what are the longer term implications for gaming content and devices?

We asked Jason Spiller, a former client and now Creative Director at Asia Pacific gaming consultancy Arcanist. Jason says that as pre-COVID-19 growth in gaming was driven by the demographic growing up natively with online content, it’s more likely that existing gamers simply played more. Non-gamers still have to adjust to new methods of content consumption, especially streaming, regardless of having more time on their hands.

However it’s once restrictions end that resulting structural changes in entertainment, hospitality and sports industries may boost gaming audiences. Early Quantiful tracking identified for clients like HP Omen how rapidly esports was gaining ground.  This trend has only accelerated since COVID-19 with traditional teams and codes discovering the reach and impact among existing and new fans of this spectator format.

Furthermore with traditional sporting codes taking time to return to normal operations, due to restrictions on crowd sizes and travel, forward-looking Stadium executives are re-inventing their business models to capitalise on these trends.  One phenomena is upgrading facilities to esports hubs and High Performance Centres, welcoming into stadia a whole new generation of sports athletes and teams with huge followings. No physical attendance needed – just log in!

We think that electronics retailers may see a positive knock on effect as active gamers, relying even more on their device for gaming and entertainment as well as work, ‘pull forward’ demand for the new models by several months.

The COVID-19 experience is outside any normal annual buying cycle, so our advice to retailers is to look afresh at new, emerging demand drivers in electronics particularly those facilitating multi-mode use or so called hybrid devices. To this end, the new generations of dual screen devices arriving over the next two months will be of real interest. Retailers who can spot quickly which brands are dominating the conversations within specific demographics can pivot their own digital marketing to support the in-demand devices and brands.

It may not be just gamers either. Parents of school age kids may re-prioritise the importance of tablets and other connected devices when considering the possibility of future periods of extended home-learning and budget to upgrade sooner than expected.

Quantiful’s interest in mobile gaming trends extends to South East Asia, where we are helping a telco forecast demand for games in order to focus their development and shorten the time to market. More about that project soon.