How Has the Gaming Industry Changed Throughout the Pandemic?


Rylee Moore, Staff reporter

Throughout the long quarantine period of 2020, there was a panic over what people would do when they were stuck in their homes. Gaming industries through this period took pity on their fans, new and old alike, and released huge numbers of games, some of which being highly acclaimed as being some of the best games the companies had ever released. People ate up this boom of video games, and there were a handful that were heavily influential on quarantine culture.


Doom Eternal and Animal Crossing: New Horizons were the first to come out in that bunch. Released on March 20, 2020, two different types of game fans came together because of their franchises’ revivals. Before Doom Eternal, 

there was Doom 2016 and before New Horizons, there was Animal Crossing: New Leaf in 2012. Having both of those different types of games releasing on the same day made the internet go wild, buying one or both and sinking hundreds of hours into them.



The next game that came out was the Last of Us Part II, following up the first game in the series that came out in 2013. Just like with Doom Eternal and AC: New Horizons, fans of the first game had waited years upon years to get their hands on a sequel. That, combined with Last of Us being about people fighting their way through a sudden apocalypse, caused players to rejoice and buy a new game that they could relate to.

Then Hades hit the market. Hades had been open for critiquing by certain people since 2018, but on September 17, it finally fully released. Despite it showing up later in the year than the other games mentioned, it was a huge, surprising success for its indie developer Supergiant Games. The launch of a Greek mythos themed rogue-like for multiple platforms excited those who saw the trailers. It allowed for an addictive fighting style of escapism, d


ifferent from the other games released. Combining aspects like strengthening relationships like dating sims, rogue-like unlimited fighting, and a gripping storyline, it was a breakout hit with those who played it.


All of these games had brought huge success to their developers, all of which being nominees for Game of the Year and all the rage for the internet’s gamers. But even those who did not play games regularly, or even at all, had gotten into at least one of the four games mentioned. Most of which gravitated towards New Horizons, with its easy playstyle and happy feel. According to Hollywood Reporter, within just the first week of quarantine led to a 75% video game usage increase. And throughout 2020 into 2021, Variety had reported that 55% of gamers have said that they played more during the pandemic and 90% said they would continue to keep up that level of video gaming even when social distancing got taken away. And with a growth of audience comes a growth of market and how much the gaming industry was worth. According to Statista, in 2019, the gaming industry was worth 104.4 billion dollars, which boomed to 128.3 billion in 2020.


However, how did those high numbers do once the lockdown ended? Well according to Earthweb, the video game industry is worth 300 billion as of a few days ago, and Statista has recorded the amount of gamers in 2022 being nearly 3 billion, an increase of .40 billion since 2019. But, while the gaming industry itself has been doing quite well, those games that had been Game of the Year nominees seem forgotten. All of them have faced a huge decline in players, over thousands of them in fact. (Steam) Some games, like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, have maintained popularity, but with New Horizon’s last free update having come out, people are expecting the game to meet its death. We may be seeing some resurrection in those numbers, however. Last of Us Part II has been rumored to be coming out with a new multiplayer add-on sometime this year, and Supergiant Games has ported Hades to the new Steam Deck. So there is still hope for these games to be brought back to the public eye, but for the time being, the world’s gamers have their eyes on other games, such as Eldin Ring, Pokemon Legends: Arceus, and the upcoming sequel to the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.


There will always be players of the 2020 Game of the Year nominees, but as they’re cast into the background, replaced by the newer generation of games, their impact has been heard throughout the video game industry. If not for the popularity of those games, the industry wouldn’t be as successful as it is today, despite it being only a few years later. The effect of the pandemic and the games that were played majorly throughout it have led to the creation of the new games that are now considered to be the best in years. And especially for smaller developers like Supergiant Games, the pandemic had helped boost their popularity, where bigger companies like Nintendo, would have been perfectly fine.


Games go in and out of style, but each game that comes out paves the way for the new ones that become the love of the public. The industry continues to grow, and the pandemic only helped speed it along.