With movement restrictions impacting many millions of people globally, the time spent on screen-based entertainment is increasing.
This chronologically-ordered list is an attempt to keep tabs on stories reflecting such behaviour so game developers can better understand how different platforms and titles are performing.
Hopefully it will also be useful for consumers as various games and game services become more accessible in terms of pricing.
- Naughty Dog's anticipated game The Last of Us II has almost completed its development, but its 29 May launch date has been delayed indefinitely by Coronavirus.
- App Annie data shows the mobile games category saw the largest increase in downloads between Q4 2019 and Q1 2020, up 30%, on Google Play and Apple App Store. In China, spending on iOS games was up 15%.
- 16 NBA players including Derrick Jones Jr. and Kevin Durant are going head-to-head in the Xbox version of NBA 2K's Players Tournament, which will be streamed on ESPN and ESPN2 from 3 April.
- IronSource data highlights an increase in mobile game DAUs (China up 60%), an increase in mobile games installed via ads (up 25% in the US), higher player engagement with rewarded ads, but falling eCPMs for developers running in-game ads as some key advertisers slash back their campaigns.
- The release of Minecraft Dungeons and Wastelands 3 are delayed by some weeks due to the current situation.
- Niantic announces adds more 'indoor' features to location-based games Pokemon Go, Ingress and Harry Potter:Wizards Unite.
- 18 game companies and World Health Organisation combine for #PlayApartTogether campaign
- How tabletop gaming company Exploding Kittens is dealing with exploding demand and decimated supply.
- NASCAR follows F1's lead and launches the virtual eNASCAR iRacing Pro invitational Series, which is already being broadcast on Fox TV with 1 million viewers for the opening race.
- Plague Inc adds 'Save the World mode' and donates $250,000 to Covid-19 response fund
- King offers unlimited play in its Saga games until 29 March
- Microsoft 'working diligently' to accommodate demand.
- Sony is throttling download speeds in Europe to ensure broadband networks can meet demand.
- Steam breaks its concurrent user record again - 22 million
- "It remains to be seen which verticals see the most growth as the quarantine phase of the Coronavirus pandemic gives way to the recession phase. But as it stands now, gaming hasn’t been the primary beneficiary of this moment."
- Gamestop (finally) shuts all stores to customers (but still allows curbside pickup)
- Covid-19 (and Doom Eternal) take down Xbox Live (again).
- FIFA 20-based Ultimate Quaran-team competition - featuring 128 professional teams - kicks off
- Formua One will run a virtual tournament replacing cancelled races using Codemasters' F1 PC game.
- Jam City announces in-game specials and gifts across seven titles including Cookie Jam and Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery and Panda Pop over the weekend and coming week.
- Overwatch League suspends the first weekend of its already regigged online season
- Unity provides three months of access to Unity Learn Premium
- Appflyer data says mobile games downloads are not up significantly, unlike apps like communications, finance, fitness and news.
- Gameloft launches an in-game gifts and free content giveaway across 35 of its titles.
- Razer is retooling to make surgical masks.
- GameStop releases Doom Eternal a day early to avoid crowds
- Verizon reports gaming up 75% during peak hours, compared to 12% for streaming
- GameStop claims it's an 'essential retailer'
- App Annie data says China's Covid-19 lockdown increased weekly mobile game downloads by 80%. The rise in South Korea was 35%. (There's also lots of interesting data about other mobile apps.)
- Mobile streaming service Hatch Kids goes free until April. It's available in Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway
- Cloud-based gaming service AirConsole offers 2 weeks free, using code "919 2020"
- Some indie developers are giving away their games via itch.io
- Nintendo's online service is currently down
- Some further data on Plague Inc's performance in US and Italy
- According to the unofficial SteamDB website, Steam hits a new all-time record for concurrent users with 20.3 million users during a 24-hour period
- Some users suffer from sign-in issues on Xbox Live, which takes a couple of hours to fix
- Real Betis and Sevilla played their scheduled derby via FIFA 2020 and Twitch
- Watford FC simulated its cancelled football game with Leicester City using Football Manager