Archive for the ‘Game Articles’ Category

by Jonathan Lee, In The Know

Cyberpunk 2077 is the most highly anticipated game of the year, but according to a former developer, it’s coming at a high human cost.

An anonymous Reddit poster who identified themselves as a former CD Projekt Red developer described a brutal working schedule and leadership who had a disturbing disregard for the wellness of its workers. Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier confirmed the poster was indeed an employee of CD Projekt Red.

I think this Reddit comment from someone who worked at CD Projekt Red is worth sharing, especially since folks out there still think their overtime is limited to 48 hours a week. I can confirm they used to work at CDPR (just got off the phone with them): https://t.co/kWdSzlTUCI pic.twitter.com/XCDjqo2KsH

— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) October 14, 2020

The former CD Projekt Red developer said that some Cyberpunk 2077 teams have been crunching (the game industry term for excessive mandatory overtime) since July 2019. If what the poster is claiming is true, it means that the company has been forcing its employees to work 16-hour workdays for more than a year now.

“The people that want the product out ASAP are the board and the marketing directors,” the former CD Projekt Red employee wrote on Reddit. “And they don’t give a flying f*** about the work balance.”

When Bloomberg released its report on CD Projekt Red mandating six-day workweeks in the two-month lead-up to Cyberpunk 2077’s release, it sent shockwaves through the industry. CD Projekt Red had backed out on its promise in June 2019 when the company’s leadership vowed that it wouldn’t force its employees to crunch.

Fans were divided by the news. Many rightfully condemned CD Projekt Red for labor abuse and reneging on its commitment to work-life balance. However, some defended the company and dismissed the Bloomberg piece as a smear campaign, despite the fact that crunch has a long-documented history of harming workers and has even led to class-action lawsuits.

CD Projekt Red’s defenders claimed that the six-day workweek wasn’t a mandate but rather a collective decision made by the employees. Schreier spoke with several current CD Projekt Red developers who told him this was false — there was never a discussion, only an order.

To clear up another point, I asked a couple of CDPR devs if it’s true that the majority of them wanted six-day weeks over a delay. They said that conversation never took place. One: “We got the email and then a meeting with our team leaders. It was never an option or question”

— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) October 9, 2020

Crunch is a sadly common aspect of video game development, an industry that has a long history of abusing the average worker with the justification that they should be grateful that they even have a job in games in the first place. Though there is no evidence that crunch increases productivity, it continues to remain a toxic cultural precedent.

“And this my friends is why I left the game dev industry,” Another Redditor wrote in the same thread. “I’ve sat through many crunches to the point I didn’t even feel like I was alive anymore.”

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Alex Wong/Getty Images

by Ben Gilbert, Business Insider

Did you know that Amazon, the biggest company in the world, launched a big-budget video game this year?

The game is called “Crucible,” and you could be forgiven if this is the first you’re hearing about it. Despite being free to play and available on the world’s largest gaming platform, Steam, “Crucible” quickly came and went from the top-100 chart.

One week after it launched in late May, the online multiplayer game had fewer than 5,000 players on average — a major issue, given that it was intended to compete with the likes of “Fortnite” and “Valorant.”

In late June, Amazon pulled the game from digital stores and put it back in “closed beta,” a game-development term that means a game isn’t complete. And in a blog post published Friday night, it killed “Crucible.”

“Ultimately we didn’t see a healthy, sustainable future ahead,” the post said, adding, “That evaluation led us to a difficult decision: We’ll be discontinuing development on ‘Crucible.'”

Any purchases that players made within the game can be refunded, and the ability to buy in-game currency has already been suspended. The game’s matchmaking functionality, which enables multiplayer, will be disabled “in the coming weeks,” with a final sunset date for custom games on November 9, the post said.

“Crucible” is a team-based online multiplayer shooter that takes inspiration from online multiplayer battle-arena games like “League of Legends” and “DOTA 2” rather than competitive shooters like “Fortnite.”

It’s also a free-to-play game with a PC focus, putting it in direct competition with games like “Valorant” and “Fortnite.” Amazon’s goal for “Crucible,” which it had been working on since at least 2014, was to attract tens of millions of players and, with any luck, make it a major esport game.

Amazon’s “Crucible.” Amazon

The contrast between how “Crucible” launched and how “Valorant” launched helps illustrate why the former failed while the latter has succeeded.

When “Valorant” launched this year, it was available in a closed beta that you could access only by watching Twitch streamers play the game live; through a “drop” system tied to Twitch accounts, viewers would gain free access to the beta. This way, new “Valorant” players already had some idea of how to play the game, because they’d watched someone play it live.

In the weeks leading up to and following the launch of “Crucible,” Amazon, which owns Twitch, didn’t use its own streaming service to promote the game. There were no major streamers playing the game and hyping it up, no trailers for it running as ads, and no drop system to gain early access. Similarly, on YouTube, ads for “Crucible” were nowhere to be seen.

“Crucible” had about 25,000 concurrent players at its peak, on May 21. By May 22, two days after launch, it had already disappeared from Steam’s list of the 100 most-played games, which bottoms out at about 5,000 concurrent players.

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by Jonathan Lee; In The Know

The post-event high of the PlayStation 5 Showcase has had fans buzzing, but new information from Sony has turned that buzz into mild disappointment.

PlayStation 5 will not be backwards compatible with the PlayStation 1, PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3, as Famitsu confirmed (via Ars Technica). However, Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan told Famitsu that “99 percent” of PlayStation 4 games will be playable on the PlayStation 5.

As Ars Technica also noted, this is an unusual change of heart for Ryan. In 2017, he questioned if PlayStation fans would ever take advantage of backwards compatibility in the first place, despite the fact that gamers have requested the feature for years.

“When we’ve dabbled with backward compatibility, I can say it is one of those features that is much requested, but not actually used much,” Ryan told Time. “That, and I was at a Gran Turismo event recently where they had PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS4 games, and the PS1 and the PS2 games, they looked ancient, like why would anybody play this?”

Some gamers on Reddit bristled at this quote and described Ryan as a corporate suit who is out of touch with his own consumers.

“Is this guy serious?” one Redditor asked. “This is the head of Playstation?”

“Don’t care how good Gran Turismo Sport looks,” said another Redditor. “GT4 has nearly [three] times the cars, better tracks, glorious OST and an actual proper campaign. I’ll always play it … and many other PS2-era games that their modern-day counterparts have yet to rival.”

For Sony, backwards compatibility is most likely not a technical issue. Indeed, people with jailbroken PlayStation 4s have discovered that the console is capable of running PS1 and PS2 games. (In The Know does not endorse jailbreaking a PlayStation — or any device, for that matter.)

The issue more likely has to do with licensing. For many games, the rights to use assets such as music are limited, so a digital version of an older driving game might be pulled from platforms because its sample of Lil Jon’s “Get Low” (skeet skeet skeet) has expired and the publisher doesn’t see the value in renewing it.

Noclip’s documentary on video game distributor GOG.com, which specializes in retrofitting classic titles for modern PCs, showed the enormous amount of work and legal red tape involved in preparing these games for rerelease.

It’s not clear how much console companies stand to gain or lose by limiting backwards compatibility, but there are still a lot of gamers out there who can’t (and won’t) let the past die. And for good reason! Bushido Blade still goes hard.

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by Tom Hoggins via The Telegraph

With the promised Autumn release dates of next-generation consoles Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 creeping ever closer, it seemed that Microsoft and its great gaming rival Sony were playing chicken over who would reveal the cost of their new box first.

Plenty of speculation filled social media over the months since the pair’s summer showcases, but the firms remained resolutely quiet on the pricing issue, perhaps in the hope that the other would go first and last minute tweaks could be considered.

Pushed by either the leak of its budget next-gen alternative, the Xbox Series S, or the need to be aggressive to have any chance of cutting the significant lead Sony had with the PlayStation 4, Microsoft jumped first.

And it went in with two feet. The more powerful Series X will cost £449.99 while the lower-specced Series S will set players back a faintly remarkable £249.99. Both prices were a highly aggressive move in their own right (many expected both the Series X and PS5 to be tipping over the £500 mark) but the circumstances and strategy surrounding Microsoft’s move are somewhat unprecedented in the gaming industry.

The Xbox Series X is launching without any specific exclusives to speak of, with Microsoft happy to say you can play its first-party games on PC or on the upcoming streaming service xCloud. And while smaller, budget versions of gaming hardware are hardly new, they usually come in the middle of a console’s lifecycle. Releasing one alongside a premium model at launch is new territory.

All of this is in service to Microsoft’s growing subscription service Game Pass. This Netflix-style service offers up a library of games to download for a fixed monthly price. All of Xbox’s own Game Studios titles -such as Halo Infinite- will appear on the service, while the company also announced that FIFA publisher EA would be folding in its own EA Play library into the price. Microsoft have been aggressively pushing Game Pass as the fulcrum of its gaming offering for the best part of two years and it will also be the backbone of xCloud.

Microsoft’s approach to its consoles is not about selling boxes as much as it is ensnaring you into a Game Pass subscription. The Redmond giant is even offering a smartphone style 24 month contract for the Series X and Series S, in which you can pay up to £35 a month (for the Series X) for the new console and access to Game Pass. Taken at face value (not including the inevitable offers on subscription that will come from buying the box up front) over the span of two years that would be cheaper for players than buying the box and a Game Pass sub up front (around £18 according to some back-of-the-hand maths).

It is an approach unheard of thus far. And while there are unquestionable risks inherent in committing to a 24-month contract, giving prospective customers an option where they are not forking out £450 at launch will be a tantalising prospect.

Microsoft have so far executed this plan as well as it possibly could have – gaming Twitter was a flurry of positivity after the reveal- but there remains a significant question mark over whether this is the right plan.

Game Pass has received plenty of plaudits for its breadth of choice, but whether subscription is the direction that the mainstream gaming audience will want to go remains to be seen. The dominance of subscription services in other entertainment mediums would suggest yes, but gaming has not always followed the same pattern as its TV or musical cousins.

And there is, of course, the question of the PlayStation 5. Where Microsoft are trying to disrupt the industry model through service, Sony seem to be playing a straighter bat. While it too will be releasing a cheaper (disc-less) version of its PS5 console at launch, its focus so far has seemed more traditional; highlighting its gilded first-party studio exclusives and touting a more significant step into the next generation. While it does have irons in the fire with cloud gaming and subscriptions, Sony hasn’t seemed to have shown the same appetite of building its gaming business around the idea.

To an extent: why should it? Estimates have the PlayStation 4 outselling the Xbox One at around two to one and Sony is widely recognised as having the superior exclusive line-up. Getting gamers to shift allegiance after a successful run is not an easy task and Sony may feel that too much disruption would not serve it well.

Still, the reaction to Xbox’s pricing strategy would have caused plenty of chin-stroking in the executive offices of Sony HQ. PlayStation’s initial riposte may be to undercut the ticket price of the Xbox -who knows?- but it may be keeping one eye on how the monthly contract idea plays out too.

The chances are that Sony can afford to wait it out a little longer than Microsoft. Xbox knows it needed to be aggressive to shift mindsets and further push Game Pass as the future of how we play games. An all or nothing gamble that could fall flat or disrupt the gaming industry entirely. Microsoft look to be making the right moves, at least. Now it is your turn, PlayStation.

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Microsoft wants a “smooth transition” to the full September 15th launch.

by Steve Dent via Engadget

Microsoft is releasing its Android xCloud game streaming service in beta today at 9AM, with just over a month remaining until the full launch. It’s currently only available in preview form for Xbox Insiders, but all Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers will be able to access the beta version today from Google’s Play Store.

“As we approach the launch of cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate on September 15, we’re entering a limited beta period to ensure a smooth transition of the cloud gaming experience to the Xbox Game Pass app on Android,” a company spokesperson told Engadget. “Existing Xbox Game Pass (Beta) app users will get the opportunity to test a subset of the available titles as we ready the experience for broader availability next month.”

This limited beta is critical to providing the best possible experience for members at launch and should not be considered indicative of the final experience or library.

If you’re an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriber in one of the 22 xCloud launch countries, you’ll receive a notification that it’s is available to test. There should be about 30 of the 100 launch games available, though you might experience some typical beta bugs. “This limited beta is critical to providing the best possible experience for members at launch and should not be considered indicative of the final experience or library,” Microsoft said.

The program is still on schedule, with the preview being discontinued on September 11th and the full launch happening on September 15th. The Game Pass Ultimate beta app rolls out today at 9AM ET on the Google Play Store, but you’ll need a $15 per month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription to use it.

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Neil Druckmann sent an email to his team after the positive review scores came in, and he ended it with “f**k the haters.”

by Eddie Makuch via GameSpot

After the review scores for The Last of Us Part II came in–and they were very good–writer-director Neil Druckmann sent an email to his team to thank them for their hard work. Druckmann has now shared some insight on what he said in the email, including his response to the haters.

Speaking to actor Troy Baker, who plays Joel in the game, Druckmann said he originally wanted to send thank-you texts to every developer, one by one. However, the team’s sheer size made that impossible. Instead, he decided to send a message on a larger scale. He ended up using email rather than text.

Druckmann said he was writing a text to art director John Sweeney, with whom he clashed often throughout development, and he began to cry. His reason for crying still isn’t clear to him.

“When the reviews hit, he was one of the first people I thought of to text personally. I’m starting to write this text to him, ‘Dude, I know we didn’t always see eye to eye…’ As I’m writing this text, I’m starting to cry, and I couldn’t even understand why I’m crying. I realize I can’t text everybody on the team–there’s just too many people on the team. I just have to write the whole team an email, and I’m not very good at that stuff.”

Druckmann said he doesn’t remember exactly what he wrote to his team, but it touched on how he was getting too much personal praise when people should understand that making The Last of Us 2 was a team effort. He also told his team that he’s never been prouder of any game he’s worked on.

He also had a message for the haters. As it turns out, he isn’t a big fan of them!

“I don’t remember exactly what I wrote, but I’m writing about my fears like I’m getting too much praise and it’s not being seen enough as a team project–but this is a Naughty Dog game, in every sense of the word,” Druckmann said. “I forget how I ended it, but it was something to the effect of, ‘Review scores are cool, but seeing your guys’ pride is what I live for.'”

“The reviews were awesome, and it’s great to hear people love the game and how much it resonates with them, but nothing comes close to hearing you, or Laura, or John, or any member of the team that has sent me an email since the game has come out to say this is the best game I’ve ever worked on. F**k the haters. Nothing makes me prouder that I’ve worked on in my life than this game.”

Also in the interview, Druckmann spoke about how he does not focus too much on sales. He only hopes his games can make enough money to convince Sony to allow Naughty Dog to keep doing what it does.

“Our job is not to maximize profits or sales,” he said. “The game is selling well, and I don’t care. Just to talk about sales for a second, I just want to sell enough so we can do it again. So Sony will keep trusting us and giving us the creative freedom to do whatever we need to do. And anything beyond that is just gravy.”

For what it’s worth, The Last of Us Part II is a gigantic sales success. The game sold more than 4 million copies in its first three days, setting new PlayStation records.

Naughty Dog is now working on The Last of Us Part II’s new multiplayer/online mode, while the company is also thinking about what might come next like The Last of Us III or something else.

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The Xbox One S will continue to be manufactured

by Tom Warren via The Verge

Microsoft is officially halting production of its Xbox One X and Xbox One S All-Digital Edition consoles. “As we ramp into the future with Xbox Series X, we’re taking the natural step of stopping production on Xbox One X and Xbox One S All-Digital Edition,” says a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. “Xbox One S will continue to be manufactured and sold globally.”

Reports of Xbox One X and Xbox One S shortages have surfaced in recent weeks, and there has been an increased demand in Microsoft and Sony’s current-gen consoles during the pandemic. While production is ending on the Xbox One X and the Xbox One S digital edition, it’s likely that stock for some retailers will still be available in the coming months. “Gamers can check with their local retailers for more details on Xbox One hardware availability,” says a Microsoft spokesperson.

Microsoft first introduced the Xbox One X back in November 2017. Designed as “the world’s most powerful console” at the time, Microsoft focused on power and hardware for its 6 teraflop Xbox One X.

The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition was only launched in April last year, as a disc-less version of the Xbox One S. Reports have suggested sales were strong for this particular console, and Microsoft even bundled it as part of the $19.99 monthly Xbox All Access subscription that includes Xbox Game Pass Ultimate access.

Microsoft is planning to continue its Xbox All Access subscriptions for the Xbox Series X launch later this year, offering subscribers an opportunity to upgrade to the new console. The software maker is also expected to launch a cheaper, less powerful next-gen Xbox. Codenamed “Lockhart,” this second Xbox is likely to form a big part of Microsoft’s pricing approach for its next-gen Xbox plans.

Microsoft is rumored to be preparing to unveil this second Xbox next month, after reports suggested the company originally planned to reveal its existence in June. This second console may also be called Xbox Series S and is expected to target 1080p / 1440p gaming.

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Gamers who lost income because of the pandemic actually spent more money on games, Comparecards survey found

by Samson Amore via The Wrap

Video game enthusiasts spent roughly $400 on games and accessories since March, according to new data from LendingTree subsidiary Comparecards.

That’s about one-third of value of the $1,200 stimulus check that the government issued to some Americans in April to offset wage losses brought on by the coronavirus.

Comparecards surveyed roughly 1,000 Americans in June and found that 25% of gamers have upped their spending on gaming since the pandemic began. “Nearly 1 in 4 consumers are spending more on gaming now than they were prior to March 2020, when varied levels of stay-at-home orders were implemented across the country,” Comparecards reported.

28% of those surveyed spent money on boxed or digital video games within the last year. 25% of gamers said they spent money on in-app purchases — which includes expansion packs within a game, or in-game currency.

LendingTree chief credit analyst Matt Schulz told TheWrap a combination of in-home boredom and extra pandemic benefits is leading consumers of games to up their spending.

“It makes a lot of sense that people are spending more on gaming. People have a lot more spare time and some of them even have a little more money in their pockets than normal because of government stimulus checks and extra unemployment benefits,” said Schulz. “More spare time plus more money on hand equals a lot more gaming for a lot of folks.”

“It can be totally OK to spend a bit more than usual on your passions during these crazy times,” Schulz said. “Gaming is a major stress reliever for many, many people, and that’s a really important thing during the pandemic. When that spending gets dangerous is when you do it without any thought to your budget or to your debt.”

About 17% of people surveyed said they’d bought a game console in the last year, while 10% reported spending on gaming headsets. Roughly half the Americans surveyed said they didn’t spend any money on games or gaming hardware last year.

The report also found that gamers facing a loss of income because of the coronavirus pandemic actually tended to spend more money on games, despite the lack of disposable income. “The average gamer whose income was impacted spent about $424 on gaming since the pandemic started, while gamers whose income wasn’t impacted spent just under $360,” Comparecards said.

Comparecards broke down the spending by age and gender, finding that 37% of men versus 10% of women reported increasing their gaming spend in the last 90 days. Baby Boomers are the least interested in video games, and their spending only increased 2% — compared to a 37% increase in spending by Millenials.

“While video games are a beloved pastime for many gamers, consumers who don’t typically play games have begun to see the appeal while social distancing, as half of all consumers made at least one gaming-related purchase within the past year,” Comparecards noted. “Men in particular, as well as millennials and members of Gen Z, are more likely than others to have spent money on gaming.”

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by Shingo ITO via AFP

Tokyo (AFP) – Every day, 90-year-old Japanese grandma Hamako Mori flexes her fingers to keep them nimble. Not for knitting or needlepoint, but to keep them in shape for playing video games.

The pensioner known as “Gamer Grandma” spends three or more hours a day battling monsters and going on missions in the virtual worlds of her favourite games, and even has a popular YouTube channel for her fans.

“I’m passionate about playing games every day,” the white-haired widow told AFP in an interview conducted by videochat.

“Every day is an enjoyable day,” she said, describing eviscerating on-screen foes as a fantastic stress reliever.

Mori cuts an elegant, mild-mannered figure, with her hair pulled back into a ponytail and a pair of large glasses perched on her nose.

She begins the videos she posts on her YouTube channel with a friendly “Konnichiwa” and a bow.

But her grandmotherly demeanour disappears when she plays, transformed into a gun-toting character in Call of Duty or a sword-wielding android in NieR: Automata.

Mori, who lives in Chiba, southeast of Tokyo with her family, holds a Guinness World Record certifying her as the world’s oldest gaming YouTuber.

“She always gets into the games,” her only grandchild, 43-year-old Keisuke Nagao, told AFP.

“I think she is slightly different. Ordinary old people are not so enthusiastic about video games as she is.”

– 300,000 YouTube fans –

Mori isn’t new to the gaming world, and has played some 200 titles since she took up the hobby some four decades ago.

Her first console was a Cassette Vision, which she bought in 1981 after being intrigued by her children’s obsession with gaming.

“I discovered that there was this fascinating thing that existed in the world,” she said.

She has played most of the gaming world’s smash hits including “Super Mario Brothers”, “Dragon Quest”, “Final Fantasy” and “Call of Duty”, and admits to sometimes staying up until 2am when she is sucked into a session.

Her favorite games include action-adventure series “Grand Theft Auto” and popular fantasy role-playing game “Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim”.

“You can do whatever you want to” in a game, she said, describing them as a “motivation in life.”

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Mori usually plays alone at home, but launched a YouTube channel in 2014 to connect with other gamers.

She posts new videos filmed by her grandson three or four times a month and has attracted 300,000 subscribers and millions of views with content featuring her gaming but also showing her daily life.

“It’s fun being watched by a lot of people, rather than playing alone,” she said of her “Gamer Grandma” channel.

Among her videos is one showing her blowing out candles on a cake to celebrate her 90th birthday with her family. Another features her “unboxing” a brand-new PlayStation console.

At 90, Mori is fighting fit, but she says some state-of-the-art games require agile hand motions that can prove challenging.

“It’s getting hard. It really is,” she said, describing exercises she does with her fingers and hands every day to keep herself game-ready.

– ‘Better than doing nothing!’ –

But she has no intention of giving up gaming.

“I won’t put it down just because it’s difficult… It’s better than doing nothing!”

And she hopes with practice she can improve further.

“I want to play well no matter how old I am,” she said. “I want to continue as long as possible.”

Mori is something of an evangelist for video games, and encourages other older people to get into gaming, or find other hobbies that keep them going.

“It doesn’t have to be video games necessarily. But it’s good to do something,” said Mori, who swam regularly until the age of 80 and still knits.

And while Mori said she understands concerns about video game addiction, particularly among young people, she pointed out that gaming may have helped many survive lockdowns over the coronavirus.

“It’s safer to play at home, rather than going out,” she said.

For now, Mori is eagerly awaiting the release of the PlayStation 5, due to hit shops later this year.

“It’s seriously preoccupying me,” she said. “I want one. I really do.”

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by Rich Duprey via The Motley Fool

GameStop (NYSE:GME) business was hurting even before the COVID-19 outbreak, so a pandemic bursting on the scene that closed all nonessential retail should have brought it to its knees, if not killed it off.

While the conventional wisdom says the migration of video game play to digital and downloads has the retailer biding its time until the console upgrade cycle kicks in, a new report suggests that not only has the coronavirus not done in GameStop, it may have actually taught it how to thrive in this new economy.

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Nothing to do but kick back and play

With schools closed, businesses shuttered, and everyone on lockdown and in self-isolation, video game sales and gameplay are soaring.

Spending on hardware, software, and accessories had been in decline as people waited for the newest consoles and the games to go with them: Sales fell 26% and 29%, respectively, in January and February. But NPD Group says they reversed course in March.

As COVID-19 was declared a pandemic and people practiced social distancing, hardware sales surged 63% for the month compared to a year ago while software jumped 34%. Accessories rose 12% year over year.

The report said it was “the highest reported spend for a March month since the $1.8 billion achieved in March 2008.”

Switching up expectations

All three console makers saw strong growth in the first quarter, with hardware sales exploding to $461 million in March alone and the Nintendo (OTC:NTDOY) Switch, a hybrid portable game console, being the biggest winner, setting a record for hardware unit sales that more than doubled from a year ago.

Even Microsoft‘s Xbox One and Sony‘s Playstation 4 grew by 25%.

GameStop became the big beneficiary, particularly because the Switch was not readily available on other platforms, though even it ran into supply problems.

And the hottest game was Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which was available only on the Switch, beating out Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which is available on multiple platforms.

The destination location online

While GameStop initially tried to say its stores were essential and kept them open, it needn’t have risked the ire of its employees, the public, or politicians, as online sales through the video game retailer’s website soared 1,500% between March 1 and April 10, according to data from Earnest Research.

So strong were GameStop’s sales that it was able to handily surpass all other electronics retailers, including AppleBest Buy, and Newegg.

It turns out that GameStop’s history as the go-to retail store for hardware and video games still translates well with consumers when they’re forced to look online.

GameStop needs to build on that reputation in the future, and the coronavirus pandemic may have provided the blueprint for it to do so.

Building on the momentum

It’s probably too soon to say GameStop is out of the woods and that after the upgrade cycle completes it won’t just revert to form.

Yet the video game retailer is under pressure from activist investors who are pushing a comprehensive series of changes that could help move GameStop away from being primarily a physical retailer and more toward digital game sales.

Such sales will only continue to grow, so GameStop needs to go where its business is heading. It got a major assist from a terrible illness and it would be a shame to waste the chance it has been given. Now GameStop needs to show it has learned this important lesson.

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