With many people still under some form of lockdown due to COVID-19 restrictions, the usual preoccupations that keep people out and about have fallen by the wayside, and in their place, have been replaced by home entertainment. It should come as no surprise that the games industry has had a banner year in 2020, companies like Ubisoft reporting huge sales over previous years. The same can also be said for entire countries, and video games in Canada had a very good year.
Whether this counts as a silver lining during what has undoubtedly been a trying time for many folks is hard to discern, but the numbers don’t lie, and people have been playing more video games this past year. Digital game sales in Europe saw a massive spike during 2020, with many people unable to get out to retail stores to purchase physical releases. Jumping on the PlayStation Store or the Nintendo eShop is a safer option for many.
In Canada the story is much the same, with 2020 seeing a sales increase (hardware, software, accessories, and digital content) of 29% over 2019’s numbers. This puts sales levels at their highest in nearly 10 years. The final quarter of the year saw some of the largest increases, likely fueled by the release of the PS5 & Xbox Series X/S. But the steadiest driver in Canada has to be the Nintendo Switch, with the console having topped sales charts as the best selling console for 25 months straight as of December 2020.
Canada’s sales numbers for next generation consoles could be even higher if not for a number of shipping issues since November. Customers were warned they might not receive their Xbox Series X consoles in a timely fashion due to hiccups in delivery. This problem extended to retailers as well, with Best Buy Canada tweeting out its discontent with the retailer’s allotment of next gen console stock not being delivered as promised.
While the games industry has benefited greatly from folks spending significantly more time at home due to the pandemic, the movie industry has come to a grinding halt. The North American box office plummeted to a 40 year low during 2020 as movie theaters were shuttered or operating at extremely reduced capacity throughout the year.
With COVID-19 ruining plans everywhere, folks are stuck at home, and particularly through the cold Canadian winter, video games have been used to pass the time more than ever before.
Source: The NPD Group