USG Notebook: Video Game Usage Sees 45% Bump Amid Quarantine

USG Notebook: Video Game Usage Sees 45% Bump Amid Quarantine

Video games are booming, as are the servers and suppliers trying to facilitate them.

USG Notebook is a weekly column dedicated to rounding up rumors, tidbits, and commentary that didn't get full coverage on the site.

A lot of people are playing video games right now. That might seem redundant to say, but it's worth appreciating the sheer gravity of how many people are playing and what that means for the industry—in good ways and in other ways.

Nielsen Games (via The Hollywood Reporter) reports that after polling 3,000 individuals across France, Germany, the U.K. and U.S., gaming has seen a noticeable spike. The United States saw the biggest bump in gaming, with 45% spending more time playing games and 29% saying they're spending more time playing online.

This spike in demand makes sense, as games are able to bridge social gaps during the ongoing pandemic. It's also had some interesting impact on other sectors of the gaming industry too.

Nintendo has been experiencing shortages of Switch consoles in several markets, with Ring Fit Adventure also seeing a massive boost in popularity. GameStop has been having a rough go of it, as players turn to digital downloads and stores move to curbside pickups only or are closed. And while everyone's going online and turning to digital, internet providers and servers are struggling to meet the increased load and demand of so many simultaneous users.

So, what does this mean for the average player? Well, if you've already preordered a big game like Final Fantasy 7 Remake, you might want to start preloading that 100GB monster right now. In other areas, publishers have seen server hiccups due to massive spikes in its userbases, so try to be patient with the teams who are trying to keep these blocks running, likely in a remote situation.

And if you've got a Nintendo Switch, cherish it. These are strange, tough times, but at least video games are here to keep us going through the hours. Don't forget to check those turnip prices.

Here's the rest of what's been happening this week in gaming news.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare got a bump in users thanks to its trial weekend. It also experienced some server hiccups along the way. | Infinity Ward/Activision

From the Rumor Mill

  • More Resident Evil 8 rumors are emerging, now claiming the next entry in the survival horror franchise will arrive next year. It also reportedly has some "narrative and mechanical departures" for the series, though considering RE7 already shook things up considerably, it makes me wonder how much further from the original series blueprint Resident Evil can go.
  • Twitter rumors surfaced of not one, but the next four Modern Warfare games. Taking it with a big pinch of salt, because Call of Duty has had to change plans a few times over the years.

News and Tidbits

The Computer Entertainment Rating Organization, or CERO, announced it would be temporarily suspending operations until May 6 due to the stay-at-home mandates in Tokyo. CERO is essentially the ESRB of Japan, and despite the closure only lasting a month, this has potential impact on future release dates, especially if it ends up holding past the May date. CERO says it will announce the resumption of its business on its site once it happens.

Last week, Kotaku's Jason Schreier reported that despite Borderlands 3's sucess, developers at Gearbox are getting stiffed on expected royalty bonuses. Employees will receive bonuses, but smaller than the expected "tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands" that sources had expected, due to the significant investment of making Borderlands 3.

Sony has announced the Sony Global Relief Fund for COVID-19. It's a $100 million fund assisting first responders, children and educators, and providing aid for those in the entertainment community affected by the virus' spread. Good on them.

Industry Chatter

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Eric Van Allen

News Editor

Eric is a writer and Texan. He's a former contributor to sites including Compete, Polygon, Waypoint, and the Washington Post. He loves competitive games, live music, and travel.

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