This past year has been a challenge for so many people, and so many industries including the video game sector. With everybody a lot more restricted to their homes and limited in the hobbies that they can pursue; many are relying on video games and virtual reality for a huge part of their social life.
The recent launch of Sony’s flagship PS5 has seen ridiculously huge demand for the leading game console in the market. Game development is a highly skilled and in-demand position, and let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to work for Electronic Arts, Rockstar Games or be part of the team creating the next edition of Call of Duty.
Whether it’s the calm escapism of Animal Crossing or the suspicion-inducing social deduction of Among Us, computer games are essential for many people who are not able to otherwise connect with their normal social circles (or just can’t bear to do another Zoom quiz).
There are 386 million gamers within Europe alone and that’s only a scratch compared to the 1.44 billion gamers in Asia. High-quality global gaming is going from strength to strength and the video game industry will continue to thrive.
From my own, personal experience, I am well aware of how much my online gaming group kept me sane during the first few months of lockdown and throughout the pandemic – whilst the rug was pulled out from us all (sports, theatre, holidays, pubs, even going to the office), gaming has been a constant, that has not only provided escapism and entertainment, but also much needed social contact.
As a result of gaming, people have formed long-lasting friendships that will hopefully survive beyond lockdown, and strengthened existing friendships with those who they may not have been able to spend as much time with (due to distance, or losing contact over the years).
Being a generally high-tech industry, gaming has adapted well to the push-to-online that many others have struggled with. Steam has options to play “couch co-op” games virtually, and Discord’s streaming feature makes shared gaming experiences effortless. One of the many reasons that the gaming industry continues to thrive.
Saying that the game world hasn’t been without its challenges recently, especially surrounding representation and treatment of women (highlighted by many female streamers in the industry who have experienced abuse and harassment).
It is essential that the gaming industry doesn’t fall behind other types of entertainment in this regard, and research will need to be done to ensure it becomes a safe and inclusive activity for everybody. Many companies are already trying to improve their representation within the medium itself, with 2020 doubling the previous record for female-led video games.
With all that has been going on in the world, now is a fantastic time to be conducting market research into gaming.
Will these social gaming trends continue post-pandemic?
How will this past year impact the sorts of games that players want to buy or buying habits in general?
Are there new gamers in the market, and how can they be accessed and included? How can gaming companies work with charities to support mental health?
We, as a company, are well-equipped to conduct research into many of the areas relevant to gaming right now, including:
- Brand tracking & awareness
- Communications testing
- Research into partnerships & advertising
- Tracking spending habits
- Mental health research
- Diversity & inclusion
- Research involving children and hard-to-reach audiences (including international)