Mobile games thrive in China amid coronavirus fears

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Pokemon GO on iPhone Pixabay

The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has been dominating the headlines for the past couple of months. Not only has the deadly epidemic resulted in the deaths of thousands of individuals, and derailed the daily lives of millions of people around the world, but it has also caused billions of dollars of damage, especially in China, where the first case of coronavirus infection was detected.

The impact of the virus has been so devastating that many factories, businesses, offices, government agencies and schools had to be shut down over fear of the contagion. Although the virus has affected possibly every sector in one way or another, there's one industry that seems to be thriving at this time of adversity – gaming, and mobile gaming, to be precise.

According to a Reuters report, millions of Chinese citizens stuck inside their homes due to fears of coronavirus contagion are turning to mobile games to keep themselves occupied.

Data collected by app analytics firm Sensor Tower showed that global mobile game downloads grew 39 per cent in the month of February, with China accounting for a major portion of the growth.

The average weekly game downloads in China jumped 80 per cent in the first three weeks of February alone, compared with the average weekly downloads for the whole of 2019, according to mobile app analytics firm App Annie.

The Chinese Apple App Store saw a 62 per cent jump in game downloads, with puzzle games like "Brain Out" and Tencent Games' online battle royale "Honor of Kings", among the most downloaded games in China.

The Reuters report also suggests that gamers spent heavily on games like Tencent's "Game For Peace", which is a PUBG Mobile-like game for the Asian markets, and the multiplayer role play game "Lineage 2" which topped the charts in South Korea, another country that has been battling the virus.

The surge in mobile game downloads is quite self-explanatory as China has placed stringent rules in order to contain the spread of the virus and eliminate it. One of the ways people are safeguarding themselves is by not getting out of their homes and mingling with the outside world. In such 'self-quarantine' people are bound to get bored and their entertainment needs grow.

"Gaming has been one of the main beneficiaries in terms of increased time spent due to quarantine," Jeff Cohen, an analyst at Stephens wrote in a client note on Monday.

Cohen also expects that American game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc the studio behind the ulta-popular Call of Duty game franchise, will benefit the most from the trend.

According to Sensor Tower data, the overall mobile game downloads globally touched four billion downloads, in comparison to 2.9 billion a year earlier with Asia witnessing a 46 per cent jump to 1.6 billion downloads in February.

This is in stark contrast to other tech industries such as the smartphone industry which has lowered its estimates with tech giants like Samsung and Apple struggling with sales.

Related topics : Coronavirus PUBG