What is the Effect of the Global Pandemic on Most Video Game Publishers?

Aug 10, 2020

The global events that shook the world earlier in 2020 have impacted just about any business and sector out there. As a result, many businesses took heavy hits and some even went bankrupt. However, there's one sector that was seemingly spared by the novel coronavirus. So, what is the effect of the global pandemic on most video game publishers?

Overall, the whole pandemic situation had (and still does to an extent) a positive impact on game publishers. Still, a number of huge gaming events like the ESL Pro League were canceled in an attempt to halt the spread of the supposed virus.

And now we're going to take a closer look at 3 of the most prominent video game publishers out there and how they were affected by the COVID-19 situation! Note that the data in this article is based on S&P Global YOY (year-over-year) industry analysis for the March quarter of 2020.

1. Activision

Activision or Activision Blizzard is one of the biggest video game companies in existence. The California-based giant owns a number of high-profile games such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Starcraft and Overwatch.

And while the company's revenue and net income has seen a decline in recent times, the pandemic period actually managed to help Activision quite a bit. During the March quarter of 2020, Activision's net income has increased by 13% to $505 million.

On the other hand, the net bookings of the company skyrocketed by 21% (to 1.5 billion dollars), including sales of both digital and physical products. The only decline registered was that of net income (- 2.0%). 

2. Electronic Arts

EA is another staple name in the gaming industry with an extensive history dating back to the early 1980s. The company based in Redwood City (California) has been mostly known for its EA Sports sub-brand and best-sellers such as FIFA, Madden NFL and NBA Live.

Now, the impact of the worldwide pandemic has been very positive for EA, especially for their FIFA franchise that saw record engagement. Thus, the net income of Electronic Arts jumped all the way up to $418 million, which is a 100% increase over the same period in the previous year.

The company also experienced a 12% increase in its net revenue (1.39 billion dollars), while the only decrease on display was of the net bookings that dropped by 11.1% (1.21 billion dollars).

3. Take-Two Interactive

Although Take-Two Interactive can't compete with Activision or EA's numbers, the New York-based gaming publisher has a few tricks up its sleeve. In fact, Take-Two owns the rights to one of the most popular video games ever - Grand Theft Auto, as well as prominent titles such as NBA 2k and BioShock.

Nonetheless, Take-Two benefited from a massive increase in various aspects, with net income going up by a whopping 115.9% (122.7 million dollars). Moreover, net revenue went up by 41.1% (760.5 million dollars) and net bookings by 49.4% (729.4 million dollars).

Conclusion

The global COVID-19 pandemic has definitely affected our lives in a number of different ways and the gaming sector wasn't spared.

However, video game publishers have actually benefited from people spending more time at home, as the revenue numbers clearly show.

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Ernst & YoungBird & BirdForce TechnologyiTech Labs
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