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The virus sees more people indoors and entertaining themselves digitally. Steam beat its largest concurrent player number again (22m on Sat), Netflix has reduced its resolution to help ISPs, and US video games internet traffic is up 75%. For the UK, Sumo’s Spyder was the sole new release on Apple Arcade on Friday, Team17 saw one of the world’s biggest streamers stream Worms on Thursday, and F1 drivers competed using the Codemasters’ game to replace the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday. We also spoke to Frontier’s CEO about his thoughts on the industry at this current time. Video games is the place to be.

Worms streamed by big influencer.
On Thursday evening, Sodapoppin took to Twitch to stream a number of games. This streamer has 2.7 million followers, has over 308 million views, and has streamed 200 hours over the past 30 days. For us, most noteworthy, was the just over an hour he spent playing Worms Reloaded that Thursday. This is important given Team17 is looking to launch a new Worms title this year (check out the media reports online) and ties-in nicely with Team17’s marketing strategy that takes advantage of the power of the influencer.

Sumo’s long awaited Spyder. We’ve been excited about this game since Sumo was first announced as one of the first 35 confirmed developers for Apple Arcade back in March 2019. Since the initial burst since Arcade’s launch in September, Apple has been adding a game a week. Giving those new games unique exposure. Spyder was release on Friday. We played it over the weekend; quality graphics, perfectly chosen music, and stands tall amongst the portfolio. It already has a 4.0 out of 5.0 rating, with easy ways to get the 1.0 back. Its auspicious release should help Sumo grow its brand and own IP skill set in 2020.

Formula 1 going virtual. There is always an uptick in video game play over race weekends, but because of the virus, races have been cancelled. However, things may be about to change. F1 will run a number of virtual grands prix to fill the gaps (including Bahrain last night). These esport events will include current F1 drivers and guests, but more importantly will use Codemasters’ game and Gfinity (GFIN) will help with the design and delivery of this F1 esports series. The races will take place on the same days that the real races were due to happen.

Weekdays are like weekends. We spoke to Frontier on Friday who believes that as well as the near term having benefits (weekday usage now feels like weekend usage), the longer term might too. Video games have been slow to convert to digital because files are much larger than music or movies. However, it is one of the cheapest entertainments and can be bought, signed into, and played from the living room sofa. When the virus goes away, habits may change forever as people (re)discover just how easily digital is. Plus this will do