PGC Helsinki Digital: “Every day was like a weekend” – the impact of Covid-19 on mobile games

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has had a monumental effect on the games industry, for better or worse with stats like engagement and playtime increasing heavily.

“One of the leading developers in Vietnam, Amanotes, specifically said that in lockdown every day seemed like a weekend in terms of the gameplay,” App Annie general manager of gaming Junde Yu told viewers at a panel at PGC Helsinki on ‘Second Wave of Games – Coming Back from Covid-19’.

“Usually, you have spikes from Monday to Friday and the weekend blows up but every day was like a weekend,” he explained.

Further panellists included DICE head of design Fawzi Mesmar, Deconstructor of Fun founder Michail Katkoff, Omdia games industry analyst Louise Shorthouse, and Bitkraft esports ventures founding partner Malte Barth.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that mobile game installs have shot up by 75 per cent in Q1 2020 due to the impact of Covid-19. While mobile has grown heavily, console and PC have actually risen even more with the panellists putting this down to people being at home instead of frequently travelling.

Deliverables vs. time

“We’re looking more at deliverables versus time spent at the office, which I think is smart,” said Katkoff in response to the long-lasting effects of the pandemic.

“When it comes to a more persistent effect in terms of genres and games people play, we can kind of see what happened with China because they were ahead of the curve.

“Once its lockdown ended we saw pretty steep normalisation of the time spent on different games. And of course, during the lockdown everybody played the most popular games and after people didn’t.”

One of the first games to benefit from the lockdown was Epic Games’ Houseparty App, which jumped by 3000 per cent in downloads.

Credit: PGC Helsinki Digital: “Every day was like a weekend” – the impact of Covid-19 on mobile games