Video chat apps are clearly skyrocketing on the charts during the coronavirus pandemic.


Correction and explanation: The previous version of this story misstated the age of the Nintendo Switch game console.

Video games are playing a major role in helping people cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the beginning of this spring with the start of home orders aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, many Americans have forced to play video games.

For some people, games are an entertaining way to spend time not for other purposes. Others use them to stay connected with friends they meet face to face – and to bond with family members.

Jennifer Fidler, 47, and her husband in Portland, Oregon, have been playing “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” with two high school girls since the pandemic caused schools to close. They may soon get another Nintendo Switch to expand their options.

Play the game, “I can connect with my sister in Tennessee and play ‘live’ with her and my nieces,” said Fidler. “It’s something we can all get together. enjoy it in your own home … It’s a fun and non-violent game – for a mother to be mutually beneficial. ”

In Washington state, 30-year-old Chad Aller and his girlfriend found games including “Apex Legends” and “Borderlands 3” on Xbox One “a great source of entertainment and stress relief” while they were at home. to “do our part he said.” They’re also cost-effective, which is a concern right now. “

Brianna Bowers, 16, from Cypress, Texas, also plays more, sometimes sneaking into some games after completing school assignments in distance classes.

“In particular, ‘between us’ is extremely convenient for these quick break times, as it sits right on my laptop and takes just a few minutes per round. I know many of my other friends. I was in the game too and it created precious connection moments with them, “said Bowers, who also plays on Xbox and PlayStation.

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In addition to playing multiplayer online games like “Fortnite” and “Call of Duty: Warzone” with others, Thomas Mehaffey, 48, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, began streaming his game on Twitch. He said he played “more so far, due to isolation from pulmonary immunity problems” to avoid COVID-19 infection.

The number of Americans playing video games has risen to 244 million, 30 million more than in 2018, according to the NPD Group’s 2020 Gamers Segment Report, research firm announced in July. .

And players are spending more time on their gaming intentions, averaging about 14 hours a week, this year, compared to 12 hours a week in 2018, according to reports surveying 5,000 active players on may.

The additional NPD study found that spending on games from March to August increased by 30% or more from the same month a year ago.

An increase in the game – and a decrease in spending on other things like travel, theme parks and tickets for sports and music events – will lead to November and December spending of 13.4 billion dollars, NPD forecast 24% higher than last year. Total spending in 2020 is expected to hit a new annual record of $ 50 billion, NPD said.

Mat Piscatella, game executive director of NPD, said: “Video games provide a safe way to gather with family and friends at home or virtual. “The social aspect of the game is now established with the mass market and people gathered together in this way could be a more permanent behavior change.”

New Xbox, PlayStation arrives next week

Help drive interest in games: coming next week for new video game consoles from Microsoft and Sony. Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Series S consoles will launch on November 10th. Sony’s PlayStation 5 and PS5 digital consoles launch on November 12.

Also, on the tap: “Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War”, released Nov. 13, is predicted by Piscatella to be the best-selling game of 2020. That’s not a long-winded thing, since the shooter First-person view and online multiplayer is loved. best-selling game franchise in the US for the past 11 years.

Another likely holiday winner was Nintendo, which saw its 3-year-old Switch console remain a hot-selling and in stock during the pandemic. Piscatella said in his holiday outlook, published on the NPD blog, the Switch could also be short of supply by the end of 2020. He said: “The lack of stock of new PlayStations and Xbox systems will cause the Switch to is an attractive option available ”.

Pedro Palandrani, research analyst at Global X, an exchange-traded fund investment firm, said landing a new PS5 or Xbox Series X or S could be difficult this season.

But that will not hinder development. Global X expects sales over the next 12 months (including October) to be more than 25% higher than the previous year. Palandrani says more than 2 billion people play games worldwide, with growth also coming from smartphones, tablets and PCs.

“We see more than just COVID momentum,” he said. “For many people, video games are also becoming their new social media. As video games continue to expand their audience and add additional features, it is emerging as a generation. Next on the Internet; a supermarket with millions of users interacting with real life-like virtual reality. “

The idea of ​​the virtual reality world might help some deal with the real world. Connor Gorman, 25, of Brooklyn Park, Minn, says: Games are a great way to socialize with friends every day when he’s more at home.

A project engineer at a software company plays multiplayer games such as “Rogue Company” on PlayStation 4 and “Animal Crossing” on Nintendo Switch, along with online flying game “Ace Combat 7” and game experience. “Phasmophobia” heteropathy on his PC.

He’s in the PlayStation 5 market. What is the selling point for video games?

“Their social aspects,” Gorman said, “and they also help reduce stress and anxiety.”

What is your purpose of gaming? Share it with USA TODAY correspondent Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.

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