Parents, teachers, and even governments have spent countless hours, countless dollars, and tons of energy trying to encourage kids to leave their screens and go play outside. Now the coronavirus is reversing that sentiment.
With the virus running rampant in China, at one point the government had 780 million people under some level of lockdown, discouraging and in some cases outright banning going out in public, leaving the population with hours indoors to burn.
Naturally, they turned to their little screens.
Global mobile game downloads shot up 39% in February, with China accounting for a major portion of the boost, data from app analytics firm Sensor Tower showed.
Apple’s App Store in China saw a 62% jump in game downloads alone.
Puzzle games like “Brain Out” and Tencent’s online battle game, “Honor of Kings”, were among the most downloaded in China, according to data from mobile app analytics firm App Annie.
Gamers also spent heavily, with Tencent’s “Game For Peace,” a PUBG-like game for the Asian market, raking in the most in China. “Lineage 2”, a multi-player role playing game, topped the charts in user spending in South Korea.
Stephens analyst Jeff Cohen wrote in a note to clients on Monday:
“Gaming has been one of the main beneficiaries in terms of increased time spent due to quarantine.”
In the first three weeks of February, the average weekly game downloads in China had jumped 80%, compared with the average weekly download for the whole of 2019, App Annie said.
Overall, mobile game downloads touched about 4 billion globally, up from 2.9 billion a year earlier. Asia witnessed a 46% jump to 1.6 billion in February, according to Sensor Tower data.