The WHO is recommending video games as an effective way to stop the spread of COVID-19, one year after adding 'gaming disorder' to its list of addictive behaviors
Video game makers have banded together to promote gaming as a healthy means of physical distancing and social connection amid the coronavirus pandemic. The WHO is seemingly supportive of the idea, despite designating video game addiction a mental health disorder. The organization added "Gaming disorder" as a classification in May 2019 alongside others related to addictive behavior, such as gambling.
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Millions of people are searching for social distancing-friendly activities to stay entertained during home quarantines. As part of a campaign dubbed #PlayApartTogether, 18 video game companies including live-streaming giant Twitch and Activision Blizzard are banding together to encourage players to resort to video games as a means to maintain physical distance while still connecting socially with others, as Insider's Palmer Haasch reported. "It's never been more critical to ensure people stay safely connected to one another. Games are the perfect platform because they connect people through the lens of joy, purpose and meaning. We are proud to participate in such a worthwhile and necessary initiative," said Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick in a press release. As part of the campaign, companies are using guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) to highlight gaming's inherent capacity for physical distancing. And the World Health Organization is supportive of the idea, despite its previous designation of video game addiction as an official mental health disorder in May 2019. The organization added "Gaming disorder" as a classification alongside others related to addictive behaviors such as gambling. The technical description of "Gaming disorder" includes such indicators as "increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities." Despite the classification, which goes into effect in January 2022, WHO ambassador for global strategy Ray Chambers said in a statement that he hopes the gaming industry can "reach millions with important messages to help prevent the spread of COVID-19," according to USA Today. Chambers said game companies will encourage players to maintain distance from others as well as practice good hygiene, like handwashing. He also tweeted a post from the #PlayApartTogether campaign on March 28 in apparent support.
We’re at a crucial moment in defining outcomes of this pandemic. Games industry companies have a global audience - we encourage all to #PlayApartTogether. More physical distancing + other measures will help to flatten the curve + save lives. https://t.co/QhX0ssN0lH — Ray Chambers (@RaymondChambers) March 28, 2020
As USA Today notes, video gaming isn't only a means of distraction during the current pandemic. Many games in the market, such as Nintendo Switch, allow players to connect and play with others online in a time when meeting friends for in-person gatherings isn't allowed.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Watch Google reveal the new Nest Mini, which is an updated Home Mini
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Computer-vs.-computer games of FIFA livestream to gamblers on Twitch. Fantasy contests carry League of Legends lineups....Computer-vs.-computer games of FIFA livestream to gamblers on Twitch. Fantasy contests carry League of Legends lineups. In the coronavirus age, video games have grown into a darling for casinos.
The company behind 'Call of Duty' says it's funding COVID-19 treatment research while it figures out how to produce video games remotely (ATVI)
The latest "Call of Duty" game produced record sales numbers, even for an annual blockbuster franchise,...The latest "Call of Duty" game produced record sales numbers, even for an annual blockbuster franchise, in the first quarter of 2020. The game "sold through more units and has more players than any prior 'Call of Duty' title at this point after its release," according to its publisher, Activision Blizzard, which announced first-quarter earnings on Tuesday. The game has done so well partially due to "shelter-at-home tailwinds," as the company puts it. Simply put: With millions of people stuck indoors due to the coronavirus pandemic, many are turning to games like "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare." But "there's no 'winning' in an environment like this," CEO Bobby Kotick told Business Insider in an interview on Tuesday afternoon. "I'm spending virtually all of my time focused on employee health." Activision Blizzard is going so far as to fund clinical trials of coronavirus-fighting drugs, Kotick said. "We're funding trials right now on blood serology tests. We're funding a clinical trial on an antiviral drug that was used in Japan," he said. "If you were to ask me a year ago would we be funding a clinical trial on a drug? I wouldn't even know how I would've answered that question." Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Every holiday season, you can expect a new "Call of Duty" game. It's become an annual tradition in gaming: Like "Madden" in August, so can you expect a new "Call of Duty" come October or November. And every year, also like "Madden," the new "Call of Duty" game sells a ton of copies. But the latest game, "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare," has broken records — even for a franchise that regularly outsells the competition. The game, which came out last year, "sold through more units and has more players than any prior 'Call of Duty' title at this point after its release," according to its publisher, Activision Blizzard, which reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings on Tuesday. The games industry has been one of a few to see success during a pandemic that has seen more than 30 million people in the US file for unemployment. It had its best March in over 10 years, as the COVID-19 crisis has forced most of the country indoors. For Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, the financial gains his company has enjoyed are dwarfed by the human impact of the pandemic. "There's no winning in an environment like this," he told Business Insider in an interview on Tuesday. "I'm spending virtually all of my time focused on employee health." In addition to employee health, Kotick said that the company was funding coronavirus treatment research. Like many companies, Activision Blizzard moved employees to remote work starting in March. Since then, the company has refocused priorities on employee safety and health, Kotick said. "When you think about what is going to be most important for employees and their families going forward, it's going to be: What's the kind of health care that you can provide, and how do you ensure safety in a work environment," he said. "When you think about the ability to send people back to work, it's going to require a completely reconfigured work environment." How to make blockbuster games remotely Many of the video games that Activision and its subsidiaries make are so-called "blockbusters" — the types of games that have budgets in the tens of millions of dollars, with celebrity cameos and sweeping orchestral soundtracks. Some components of that type of game production — motion- or performance-capture and symphony recordings, among other things — are difficult or near impossible to do from afar, but that isn't stopping Activision from attempting to solve as many of those issues as possible during the pandemic. "When you look at things like voice acting or being able to record a symphony, what we've been doing now on things like motion capture and voice is we created these home recording studio kits that we send to our voice talent," Kotick said. "We've got these very sophisticated motion capture suits that we've created that we can actually send to an actor's home." Those suits are a temporary solution awaiting a longer-term one that Kotick said he's implementing company-wide: "We've bought PCR machines, and we have a pathologist who's working with us full-time on how we're going to deploy testing across every different part of our business." Kotick said he was also turning his attention and finances toward the pandemic. Activision is funding trials for drugs that can treat and fight the coronavirus, he said. "We're funding trials right now on blood serology tests," Kotick said. "We're funding a clinical trial on an antiviral drug that was used in Japan." It's a pretty major departure for a company that exclusively focuses on the production, marketing, and sales of a handful of blockbuster video game franchises — a major departure that isn't lost on Kotick. "If you were to ask me a year ago would we be funding a clinical trial on a drug? I wouldn't even know how I would've answered that question."SEE ALSO: Video-game sales spiked in March as the coronavirus pandemic forced millions of Americans to stay indoors. Nintendo was the big winner. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: How waste is dealt with on the world's largest cruise ship
Esports Ecosystem Report 2020: The key industry players and trends growing the esports market which is on track to surpass $1.5B by 2023
This is a preview of The Esports Ecosystem research report from Business Insider Intelligence. Purchase this...This is a preview of The Esports Ecosystem research report from Business Insider Intelligence. Purchase this report. To check to see if you already have access to Business Insider Intelligence through your company, click here. Esports and gaming have burst into the mainstream in recent years, transforming from a vibrant niche to a central form of entertainment around the world. While esports may have once stood for a subset of sports culture, it has grown into a full industry in its own right. That shift has been powered by championing from mainstream celebrities like Michael Jordan, Drake, and DJ Marshmello, an increasing amount of coverage from traditional outlets like ESPN, and, at least in part, the breakneck rise of Fortnite. As competitive gaming cements itself in the popular culture, global investors, brands, media outlets, and consumers are all paying attention. Total esports viewership is expected to grow at a 9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2019 and 2023, up from 454 million in 2019 to 646 million in 2023, per Business Insider Intelligence estimates. That puts the audience on pace to nearly double over a six-year period, as the 2017 audience stood at 335 million. The pop-culturization of esports has helped power the explosions in esports investment and revenue. Esports has hit this stratosphere in large part because of the social component of live streaming and gaming. Gaming-specific streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube Gaming give fans a direct connection to the players and teams, while more mainstream socials have allowed those connections to flourish. Certain esports organizations, like FaZe Clan, are also moving aggressively into areas like merchandise, lending their brands more notoriety than if they'd stuck to esports alone. Rick Yang, partner at NEA — a venture capital firm that invests in esports — underscored this in a conversation with Business Insider Intelligence: "I actually think of esports as the mainstreaming of gaming, or the pop culture instantiation of gaming versus the pure idea of these players becoming professionals to compete at the highest levels." It's essential to think of the esports opportunity in this way — one inclusive of gaming, media, pop culture, and commerce — as it shines a light on opportunities beyond gaming events alone. As a result, the industry has seen a huge uptick in investment from venture capitalists, and more recently from private equity firms. The number of investments in esports doubled in 2018, going from 34 in 2017 to 68 in 2018, per Deloitte. That's reflected in the total dollars invested, too: Investments are up to $4.5 billion in 2018 from just $490 million the year before, a staggering YoY growth rate of 837%, per Deloitte. These investments are distributed to players across the ecosystem — from esports organizations, to tournament operators, to digital broadcasters — allowing it to function and grow. The net result is that esports has matured from its roots in arcade gaming to the complex digital ecosystem it is today, and in this report, Business Insider Intelligence will provide a comprehensive breakdown of the key players involved in the space. This report will provide a high-level overview of the industry to clarify how the many moving pieces of the esports ecosystem fit together. It will also break down how money flows into the ecosystem. The ultimate goal of this report is to give readers a clear understanding of how the major players and components of esports function so that they can more readily take advantage of the many opportunities this dynamic ecosystem presents. The companies mentioned in this report are: Activision Blizzard, Alienware, Amazon, Apple, AT&T, BAMTech, BMW USA, Bud Light, Caffeine, Champion, Chinese Mobile, Cloud9, Coca-Cola, Comcast, Deloitte, Disney, Douyu, DreamHack, Electronic Arts, Epic Games, ESL, ESPN, Facebook, FaZe Clan, FIFA, G-Fuel, GamesBeat, Gen.G, Google, HBO, Honda, Huya, HyperX, Instagram, J!nx, KeSPA, Liquipedia, Madrinas Coffee, Manchester City, Marvel, Microsoft, Mixer, MLB, MLG, Monster Energy, NBA, NEA, NetEase, Newzoo, NFL, NHL, Nielsen, Nissan, NZXT, Old Spice, OnePlus, PandaTV, Pizza Hut, PlayVS, Postmates, Puma, PwC, Red Bull, Renegades, Riot Games, SAP, SK Telecom, Steam, StreamElements, Sunshine Soldiers, TDK, Team Liquid, Tencent, TJ Sports, Treyarch, Twitch, Twitter, Uber Eats, Ubisoft, Valve, Vivendi Games, YouTube, 1 UP Studios. Here are some key takeaways from the report: Most projections put the esports ecosystem on track to surpass $1 billion in revenue for the first time this year. And revenue is expected to grow from here — Newzoo projects it to hit $1.8 billion by 2022. Money flows into esports through media rights, live event ticket sales, merchandise sales, and in-game purchases, but most of the revenue (69%) comes from sponsorships and advertising, per Newzoo figures cited by Statista. That growing revenue comes from around the world: Asia-Pacific (APAC), North America, and Europe are the top three esports markets, respectively, in terms of audience and revenue. APAC will account for over half (57%) of global esports viewership in 2019, up from 51% in 2017, per Newzoo. Meanwhile, North America is set to hit $300 million in esports revenue this year, while Europe is expected to reach $138 million, per PwC estimates. The rest of the world only accounts for about 15% of total esports revenue, but it contains several regions to watch. One of the fastest-rising regions is Latin America, which is expected to hit $18 million in esports revenue in 2019 before skyrocketing to $42 million by 2023, per PwC estimates. The future of esports will likely be powered by mobile, which will further reduce barriers to entry and allow even more gamers and fans to pour in. The mobile gaming segment is set to make up 45% of the total global games market this year. That popularity is already spilling over into some competitive spaces, as China already has a thriving mobile esports scene. In full the report: Clarifies what the esports space is, who the major players within the ecosystem are, and what roles they play. Highlights the key demographics within the space, their interests, and what spaces are ripe for brands or other interested investors. Breaks down how revenue is generated and what the key areas of future growth are. Interested in getting the full report? Here's how to get access: Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now Join thousands of top companies worldwide who trust Business Insider Intelligence for their competitive research needs. >> Inquire About Our Enterprise Memberships Current subscribers can read the report here. Join the conversation about this story »