HANOI, Vietnam — According to recent statistics from App Annie, an app data and analysis services platform, during the first 11 weeks of 2020, the number of mobile game app downloads before and after the 2020 Tet holiday in Vietnam increased by 40%. This is in contrast with the statistics from 2019, in which the number of downloads did not show any upward trend in the same period.

The impact of COVID-19 on the gaming industry

Recent research from Adsota shows that before the COVID-19 outbreak, gaming was projected to grow strongly this year with the number of active players expected to rise from 51% in 2018 to 71% in 2019. Another noticeable trend is how the increase in terms of graphics quality and user experience has become a key factor in expanding the gaming market during the last few years, especially in 2019.

In 2020, the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak has led to social distancing and quarantine policies being applied in many countries including Vietnam. The daily lives of consumers are going through massive changes with most activities taking place at home. Gaming suddenly became a safe and cost-effective means of entertainment. Along with social media, gaming has also become a perfect solution to keep everyone entertained and connected as the outside world has no longer been capable of doing so.

In addition, a variety of game genres available in Vietnam has brought about a diverse experience to players which have kept them from becoming bored even when staying at home for a long time. This very reason is an important factor for the significant increase in the number of players and the amount of time they spend playing games during the COVID-19 era.

Overall, the gaming industry has been a bright spot even in the worst periods of the pandemic. However, challenges remain for game publishers. “The global impact of the COVID-19 outbreak has caused temporary suspensions from production partners from China, Korea, and Japan. Therefore, many projects from domestic publishers are unable to release as planned. Even on-air products are affected due to delays in technical support, while new products being postponed make companies unable to generate revenues for other activities such as marketing and communications,” stated Ms. Trang Vu, COO of GAMOTA.

Opportunities remain for Vietnamese Game Publishers

There are still more upsides for game publishers in Vietnam during the impact of COVID-19. The amount of new releases in the first quarter of 2020 has been slightly less than that of 2019. However, 2020 still has many potential opportunities to grow for the gaming industry especially when an increasing number of global players are entering the market and actively looking for credible local partners to release highly invested game products.

In the post-pandemic period, the market has seen the appearances of various new products in different genres such as Call of Duty, Vo Lam Truyen Ky 2, The Gioi Hoan My, Tuyet Dai Song Tu, Vua Bong Da 2020, Tuyet Dinh Tam Quoc Mobile, Ngao Kiem 3D, etc.

“Follow-up” services can also expect an upward trend along with new products being released. Live streaming is a favorite activity in which game streamers play the same roles as influencers. Recently Nam Blue, a streamer from OTA Network, set a record of 137,000 concurrent views with the number of followers on his channels reaching 2,000,000. To date, Nam Blue is the only streamer to have reached this record on Facebook Gaming.

“Basically, gaming is an industry that might be less affected by the COVID-19 pandemic compared with other businesses. Recent market reports also show that the number of players in Vietnam went up by 30% after the emergence of COVID-19. As other means of entertainment, such as movies, sports, and outdoor entertainment, are only being re-open recently with careful health measures, gaming remains a safe means of entertainment, so overall revenue of the industry is rising steadily, though not too much because incomes of consumers are not yet fully recovered due to the outbreak impact on the economic,”  Ms. Trang Vu – GAMOTA’s CEO stated.

Nevertheless, the ability to capitalize on opportunities in the market after the peak of COVID-19 is going to depend on the publishers themselves. Building a large and loyal community of gamers is the stepping stone for domestic players. Product development in terms of both quality and quantity is going to help game publishers in Vietnam make the leap in the final half of 2020. The gaming industry will expect to have continuous but steady growth after the COVID-19 period.