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Online Demand Bright Spot For Coronavirus-Hit Game Industry

Online video game services have seen massive traffic from people self-isolating due to COVID-19; however, the games industry is also experiencing a negative impact from the virus, with conferences cancelled and game development under threat.

PC gaming service Steam experienced its biggest spike ever on Sunday, with 20,312,000 users logged in at the same time, 6.4 million of whom were actively playing a game; the most popular was Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Microsoft’s Xbox Live is also seeing high demand, with head of Xbox Phil Spencer tweeting that it was “heartening” to hear of so many people using games to stay connected.

Despite the surge in online gaming, the video game industry has been hit hard by the virus. Major industry events such as Game Developers Conference and E3 have been cancelled; the latter’s organiser, the Electronic Software Association (ESA), said it had been a difficult decision made after careful consultation.

“Following increased and overwhelming concerns about the COVID-19 virus, we felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation. We are very disappointed that we are unable to hold this event for our fans and supporters. But we know it’s the right decision based on the information we have today,” the ESA said in a statement.

The virus is also impacting game development, as many video games are made across different countries and/or studios.

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