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How video games help the Chinese to survive the epidemic of coronavirus

The local industry is booming, and developers are unwittingly making money from a deadly disease
In many regions of China, a coronavirus quarantine has been in place for several weeks — residents do not leave their homes and work remotely if their profession allows them to. Traditionally, in January and February, the Chinese have a long vacation, which has a positive impact on the local (and not only) gaming industry. But the effect of the quarantine was unexpectedly strong. How much-explains the developer from Beijing.

Everyone seems to already know what the COVID-19 coronavirus is. This is a dangerous disease transmitted by airborne droplets. With late detection and a number of adverse factors, it leads to the development of high fever, convulsions, pneumonia, and death. An outbreak of the coronavirus was recorded in the Chinese city of Wuhan, Hubei province in early 2020. At the time of writing, 2012 people have died from the coronavirus, 14642 have recovered, and there are about 75,000 infected people in total. The largest number of cases occur in the city of Wuhan, which is closed for quarantine. In other cities, there are a number of restrictions on movement — but not to say that people themselves are eager to leave their home and risk their health. Weekends at factories, factories, and a number of organizations were supposed to end by mid-February, but have already been extended for at least a week or more.

Due to restrictions on movement, people are faced with the inability to entertain themselves in the usual way — for example, going to the movies, cafes and night clubs, amusement parks, and so on. The release was games, and mostly mobile. One of the most important games of the huge Tencent Corporation, “Moba” Honor of Kings, brings its creators, scary to think, up to 300 million dollars daily! Last year, the Chinese New year weekend lasted two weeks, and the game earned only $ 186 million during that time.

How video games help the Chinese to survive the epidemic of coronavirus
The analytical company Niko Partners reports that the number of app downloads from China increased by 27%, and their average profit increased by 12%. Chinese gamers go to the virtual world not just out of boredom, but to support each other in difficult times.

“I don’t have anything to do tonight. There was a lot of free time. I make an agreement with my friends — we set a time and go to Peacekeeper Elite to play together, ” says a gamer named Yan, who tries not to leave the house once again.

According to analysts ‘ reports, the average online number of games has increased two or even three times in comparison with the holidays of last year.

How video games help the Chinese to survive the epidemic of coronavirus
Companies, of course, do not want to boast about calculating profits in such a difficult period for the country. Journalists requested comments from Tencent, Blizzard and a number of other studios, but they refused to communicate. Perhaps, even on our portal, you met news about Steam records — here Counter-Strike: Global Offensive seems to have broken the record for the number of players online for no reason. And Steam counted the highest number of users in the app. Most gamers are from China.

How video games help the Chinese to survive the epidemic of coronavirus
In addition to PCs and mobile devices, consoles have also become popular. Taobao, the country’s largest trading platform, reports that it sold out all its stores of set-top boxes and disks in a week. The PS4 and Nintendo Switch are particularly popular. Increased demand, of course, led to higher prices, but this does not stop the Chinese.

But the developers specifically do not want to cash in on gamers. On the contrary, many studios have launched various promotions. For example, the authors of the online MMO Nishuihan made the game completely free for the entire period of quarantine, although previously it was only possible to enter it when purchasing access for a month or year. They also give out stylish respiratory masks that game characters can flaunt. Blizzard, in turn, opened the doors of the team shooter Overwatch — the company extended free access also for the period of the quarantine.

How video games help the Chinese to survive the epidemic of coronavirus
Game publishers understand the complexity of the situation and support the people of China as much as they can. Many simply send donations to various organizations fighting the spread of the disease. Others actively buy respiratory masks where they are still available and send them to cities where there is a shortage of them. Especially in Wuhan.

How video games help the Chinese to survive the epidemic of coronavirus
The games brought together Chinese people who live in constant fear that a deadly disease may affect their family. A joint game session and even just talking about games helps people not to lose heart during this difficult period of quarantine.

“I’m at home almost every day, and there are no more topics for conversation. Pretty quickly, our communication fades until we start playing or discussing games. Playing together, we feel like we have more things to talk about. And it’s a great way to stay in touch with each other.”

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