Aside from watching Netflix, playing video games is one of the few activities perfectly suited for life on lockdown. Not only does it offer some much-needed distraction from the dire realities of a global health crisis, but in the age of online gaming it also enables gamers to interact with friends (and strangers) without having to leave their homes.
Given the circumstances, it doesn’t come as a huge surprise that the U.S. video game industry posted very good results for the past three months, at a time when it usually faces a post-holiday sales slump. According to industry data from the NPD Group, total spending on video game hardware, software, accessories and game cards amounted to $977 million in May 2020, the highest May figure since 2008, when Nintendo’s Wii was flying off the shelves.
As the following chart shows, the strong May continued a trend that began in March, which had also been the strongest in terms of sales since 2008. In April, the only month affected by the lockdown in its entirety, the U.S. video game industry even surpassed its all-time record for April – also dating back to 2008 – after seeing sales spike 73 percent compared to the previous year.