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Gaming and live streaming rise globally amid COVID-19 crisis

Games industry in a strong position to weather pandemic, say analysts

Video game usage and live streaming has spiked as people self-isolate in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Data from Arsenal.gg that was provided to us in collaboration with streaming tools platform StreamElements found that global viewership has increased by 10% on Twitch and 15% on YouTube Gaming.

"With more stay-at-home mandates being issued around the world and the entertainment industry finding new ways to migrate their offerings to live streaming platforms, we expect to see these numbers rise," said StreamElements CEO Doron Nir in an email statement.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, US telecom firm Verizon found that online gaming has increased by 75% during peak hours in North America, while streaming is up 12%; overall web traffic is up nearly 20% but social media usage has remained flat.

"As we see more and more individuals work from home and students engage in online learning, it is a natural byproduct that we would see an increase in web traffic and access to VPN," said Verizon CTO Kyle Malady.

"And as more entertainment options are cancelled in communities across the US., an increase in video traffic and online gaming is not surprising."

Doug Creutz, analyst for investment bank Cowen, said gaming sectors are expected to "fare far better than the market average" during this pandemic.

"As such, we think the sector is a (relatively) good place to weather market volatility," he added.

Meanwhile in Italy, live streamed gaming content has increased by 66% in terms of hours watched, according to StreamElements. This follows a country-wide quarantine after Italy became the hardest-hit European country with over 2,500 deaths so far.

For the record: This article has been amended to include mention of Arsenal.gg which provided some of the data.

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