As consumers stuck at home spend more time playing games on everything from smartphones to consoles, a number of firms appear to be getting a revenue boost.
In the late-March edition of a monthly Nielsen survey of American, British, French and German consumers who say they "actively play games," a 45% increase was recorded for the amount of time U.S. respondents spent (on average) playing games. France came in at 38%, the U.K. at 29% and Germany at 20%.
In addition, 39% of U.S. respondents said that they're now spending "somewhat or much more" on video games. 23% of respondents in the other polled markets said the same.
Here's a run-down of companies benefiting from this uptick in gaming activity.
1. Game Publishers
This doesn't need much explanation. Game developers such as Activision Blizzard (ATVI) , Electronic Arts (EA) and Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) naturally benefit from higher game-related spending. The same likely holds for Chinese game developers such as Tencent and NetEase (NTES) , as well as mobile game developers such as Zynga (ZNGA) and Glu Mobile (GLUU) .
Usage appears to have particularly spiked for online games that give consumers a way to remain connected with friends. Activision has seen strong downloads for free-to-play battle royale game Call of Duty: Warzone since it launched on March 10, and games such as Fortnite and League of Legends have dealt with server capacity issues.
2. Game Console Makers (Especially Nintendo)
Demand has risen across the board for game consoles. But in the cases of Microsoft's (MSFT) Xbox One and Sony's (SNE) PlayStation 4, the fact that next-gen consoles are expected by this holiday season appears to be limiting the size of the sales boost.
On the flip side, Nintendo's Switch, which was launched only in 2017 and caters more to casual gamers, has been eagerly snapped up by consumers looking to keep themselves and/or their kids entertained during COVID-19 lockdowns. With the Switch sold out at major retailers and selling for healthy premiums on marketplaces such as eBay, Nintendo is reportedly upping production.
3. Chip Suppliers
Strong Switch demand is a positive for Nvidia (NVDA) , whose Tegra X1 processor powers the console. Also, Nvidia has reported seeing a pickup in gaming graphics card sales via online retailers, as well as (amid broader strength in the laptop market) strong notebook GPU demand and growing healthy usage growth for its GeForce Now cloud gaming service.
AMD (AMD) has a sizable gaming GPU business of its own, and is also the processor supplier for the Xbox One and PS4 (not to mention their successors). And though AMD has gained ground here in recent years, Intel's (INTC) CPUs still go inside a large percentage of the world's gaming PCs.
4. App Store Owners
Mobile app data provider App Annie has reported seeing major increases in time spent using both gaming and non-gaming apps. And though streaming apps are also well-represented, App Annie's App Store and Google Play leaderboards for top-grossing apps still feature dozens of games.
Apple (AAPL) and Alphabet/Google (GOOGL) , as readers may know, get a 30% cut on paid game downloads and in-game purchases made via their respective app stores. Also, last September, Apple launched a game-subscription service (Apple Arcade) and Google launched an app-subscription service that includes games (Google Play Pass).
5. Live Game-Streaming Platforms
Amazon.com's (AMZN) Twitch has seen traffic spike in recent weeks: StreamElements, a provider of tools for live-streamers, estimates that Twitch viewership rose 31% from March 8 to March 22.
Google's YouTube is also believed to be seeing a jump in game-streaming traffic. In China, game-streaming platforms Huya (HUYA) (now majority-owned by Tencent) and Douyu (DOYU) could be getting a boost.