Distracted gamers and fewer spenders, but still addicted to video games

At the start of the health crisis, “people were landing on Twitch en masse, streamers and viewers alike,” Brandon Williams, alias “BWpaco,” says on a platform where players streamed their video games live.

“But I’ve talked to a lot of people who stopped streaming because they were burnt out or because it wasn’t for them. Or they don’t have time since they got back to work in person,” notes the 30-year-old.

According to, in 2020 the Amazon platform surpassed the average of 2 million concurrent viewers for the first time, and in April 2021 it surpassed 3 million.

Since the spring and the general resumption of many face-to-face events, attendance has fallen. But with an average of 2.6 million simultaneous viewers, that remains above pre-pandemic levels.

Accustomed to double-digit growth, video games have slowed down a bit, but they are doing better than many tech companies that are slowing down hiring or even firing staff.

When virtual reality invites itself, the immersion becomes complete. Bigstock Photo

The inevitable correction

NPD analyst Matt Piscatella estimates that total U.S. video game consumer spending in 2022 will be about $55.5 billion, down 8.7% from last year but up 28% from 2019.

Activision Blizzard, the US video game publisher that is in the process of being acquired by Microsoft, saw revenue decline for the third straight quarter in the second quarter, with profits flattened in part by players spending less money. time on one of their flagship games, Call of Duty.

Sales of rival consoles Microsoft and Sony also declined year-on-year as their users became less attached to the home. Nvidia, the California-based graphics card specialist, recently issued an earnings alert due to “declining video game revenue.”

Even spending on mobile games is showing signs of weakness.

As for Roblox, its growth has slowed down and losses have increased. As of the end of June, the platform for games and creativity for the little ones had 52.2 million daily users. This is almost 2 million less than in the first quarter, but 21% more than a year ago.

Analysts believe that a post-pandemic boom correction was inevitable, especially in a difficult economic environment. “Component supply difficulties are slowing down the production of new consoles, and we have deadlines until 2023 for the release of major games such as Starfield, Suicide Squad and Breath of the Wild 2,” said Steven Bailey, an analyst at Omdia.

sad trumpet

The delay in the release of new titles is one of the factors behind this decline, but it is also a reason to believe that it will be temporary.

Matt Piscatella expects the market to gradually stabilize in 2023 and return “to a long-term trend, that is, regular growth.” Galloping inflation is pushing fans to choose, the analyst notes, but not to give up this form of entertainment.

“About 76% of American consumers play video games of all types. And we’re seeing continued growth in subscriptions to services like Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation+, which offer many games at a lower price than individual games.

The pandemic has fueled the adoption of new habits such as “cozy games,” those “comfort games” that emphasize collaboration over competition. The Animal Crossing explosion illustrates this phenomenon well. It also allowed patient streamers to build a community of loyal players.

Even though many viewers have become “tramps,” according to BWpaco, they turn on their favorite Twitch channel like a radio to listen to in the background.

The streamer with a few hundred followers says he hasn’t lost a single fan, but “fewer of them are talking in the chat window or ‘make sad trumpet sounds or farts’ when he gets killed in one of the games.


At the start of the health crisis, “people were landing on Twitch en masse, streamers and viewers,” says Brandon Williams, also known as “BWpaco,” on a platform where players stream their video games live. a few people who stopped streaming because they burned out or because…

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