It is safe to say that 2020 was one hell of a year for the gamers of the world – not to mention the countless developers, writers, artists, and engineers working behind the scenes to keep the wheels of the industry rolling, and ensure that the remarkable momentum powering us all into the ‘next gen’ of gaming doesn’t slow, even for a moment.
And, of course, their hard work – and those countless hours we invested into playing games, watching games, buying games, and talking, writing (even, in some instances, singing) about games – has certainly paid off. 2020 really was, objectively speaking, a standout year for the industry – and one that, hopefully, promises to define this next generation currently settling in at our fingertips.
To that end, here are just five of the records that gamers and developers managed to smash in the year 2020.
1. US Gamers Spent More on the Hobby than Ever Before
Given the ways in which it has risen in significance in recent years, it feels almost strange to refer to gaming as a hobby. For many of us, this pastime has become a mainstay of our daily lives – something that we invest more time, attention and money into than other, more ‘traditional’ hobbies.
US gamers added further proof to this when, in 2020, they spent more on games, DLC and consoles than ever before – investing more than $55 billion, collectively.
These numbers are truly awe-inspiring, particularly for an industry that remains relatively new when compared with other areas within the entertainment sector. Still, it’s not all unidirectional – whether gamers are pulling in the subscription fees via streaming platforms or working their way into the hall of fame for the biggest slot machine jackpots in history, it’s clear that this industry is moving some serious money around.
2. The PlayStation 5 Officially Nabbed One of the Most Coveted Titles in the Gaming World…
Who could forget the seminal releases of the next-gen consoles from Sony and Microsoft – the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X respectively – and all the excitement (not to mention drama) they brought with them?
Still, while many of us will have been left with vivid memories of watching the Twitter feeds for stock drops, and hanging around outside GameStop in the hope of a spontaneous run of consoles, it would appear that plenty of us did, in fact, get the goods in time for Christmas.
Afterall, the title of ‘Fastest Selling Games Console in History’ is not one that is handed over lightly. Even for a tech giant like Sony, this represents a massive achievement – and the cherry on top of an exciting year for the industry.
3. …As Well as the Previous Launch Record, Too
In the first month of the PlayStation 5’s launch alone, the console pulled in more unit sales than any other console experienced in its launch month. Not only that, but it also pulled in the highest dollar sales – despite being priced at what was widely deemed a highly competitive rate.
This just goes to show that, even in spite of the mammoth struggles faced by Sony to meet the demand – and the widespread sense that the tech giant had failed to prepare for their own launch – the tech giant surely produced a huge volume of devices to meet with that initial rush.
4. The League of Legends World Championship Broke its Own Records
eSports represents one of the most lucrative areas within the gaming industry – and a massive draw for viewers and budding players alike.
Last year, it demonstrated its remarkable propensity to pull in the crowds after achieving a peak of 45.95 million concurrent viewers – with an average count of 23.04 million. These are, without a doubt, incredible numbers – and proof that sky’s the limit for this genre.
5. Online Streaming Platform Twitch Aggregated More Viewing Hours Than Ever Before
Have you ever taken a moment to consider quite how many thousands of years are contained within 1 billion hours? Well, to give you a hint, it’s more than 114,000 years – only 85,000 years shy of the length of time modern human beings have spent wandering the planet.
Now that you have that number in mind, consider quite how long 17 billion hours really is – and then the fact that, in 2020, Twitch viewers collectively spent that amount of time watching a whole host of professional and casual players broadcast their in-game experiences live on the platform.
To put that into perspective, that’s verging on 2 million years – condensed into just 365 days, and shared between the streaming platform’s 140 million monthly users.