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Gaming is more popular than ever due to coronavirus

The video game industry was already doing very well in the last few years, showing impressive and steady growth. But the coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home orders have given the industry an even bigger boost, according to a new report from The NPD Group.

About 32 million more people in the U.S. play games now than in 2018, which means that three in four Americans are now gamers. Those people are also playing way more often, with the average amount of time spent gaming each week up from 12 hours to 14. The category of people that play games less than five hours a week decreased to 39%, while those gaming between five and 15 hours and those gaming more than 15 hours increased to 32% and 20%, respectively.

Multipurpose devices such as smartphones, tablets and PCs are still overwhelmingly the platforms of choice, but more people game on multiple devices than ever before — that group saw an increase from 59% to 65%.

Where things get interesting is when the report delves into specific questions regarding players during the pandemic: 94% of those polled say they engage with their consoles more and 6% said they purchased additional gaming hardware. Thirty-five percent of people said they were gaming more because they were stuck at home.

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This report was released days after The NPD Group dropped sales numbers for June, which showed the second-best June gaming has ever had in terms of sales. Sony has also boosted production for the PlayStation 5 due to the booming market.

Last week, the Game Developers Conference released its own report that showed the effect the pandemic had on the makers of games. While some saw a decrease in business, more than 30% of those polled said there had been a greater demand for their titles.

The report also went into the negative effect coronavirus was having on morale, as it found that isolation and lack of access to necessary tools was taking a heavy toll on developers.

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Tom Caswell
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