The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting every aspect of life, and that includes the gaming industry. From high-profile game delays such as The Last of Us Part II to studios having to change work routines, the coronavirus’s impact is being felt. There has been one short-term positive for publishers, though, as players being forced to stay at home has helped increase game sales significantly this past month.
TinyBuild CEO Alex Nichiporchik believes that larger studios with over 50 people will be impacted the most by being forced to work from home. For his own company, things at the indie publisher have been largely business as usual, although it has impacted some of his partners more. Luckily for them, tinyBuild only switched to working from offices recently, so most of its team is used to being productive from their homes.
Like other companies, tinyBuild has seen a significant increase in sales since the pandemic started as the company’s long tail sales are up at least 80 percent. Despite seeing higher sales than normal, Nichiporchik isn’t celebrating this moment. He knows that many people will be put in a rough financial situation due to the pandemic, and that will slow down game sales as it continues.
“It’s short-term. We need to look a couple of months ahead when people will turn to more value-driven entertainment such as subscriptions, which is more predictable for a potentially limited family budget,” Nichiporchik said in an interview with Escapist. “For Hello Neighbor, the downloads reached 1.7 million during last month, doubling the usual growth rate. It’s not smart to celebrate the short-term sales boost everyone in the industry is seeing, as we need to prepare for an economic downturn and figure out more value-driven entertainment.”
The tinyBuild CEO believes that subscription services such as Xbox Game Pass will ultimately see the biggest boost during this time. For a low price every month, an entire family will be able to access dozens of different titles to entertain their at-home children. The value is simply too much to pass up during what will be a trying time in many households.