While the world retreats indoors determined to do their part to fight the coronavirus, it’s no surprise that we are all looking for things to keep us entertained.
Internet usage has spiked by 70% during peak times according to US mobile company Verizon and streaming sites are more popular than ever, with Netflix recording 16million new sign-ups since January.
Gaming is no exception to this trend—further figures from Verizon show that web traffic related to video game usage is up 115% in the US, while Nintendo reported a 150% increase in Switch sales during March.
It’s easy to assume that people are turning to games for a bit of lockdown entertainment. However, there’s much more that games have to offer—they can help to ease feelings of loneliness, keep us connected and boost overall health and wellbeing.
Connections and belonging
We’ve all heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and how we humans seek the pleasing effects of dopamine in everything we do. Games appeal to these basic human instincts, making them a prime example of how we can tick off a lot of those higher needs.
People love to compete and they love to win. Games often have a competitive element—defeating opponents or racing around tracks. They feed into our competitive nature and satisfy our sense of achievement.
Working our way through levels, unlocking exclusive items, collecting points, etc. all create a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. This appeals to our basic human needs, releasing dopamine and generating those good, positive feelings—something we’re all craving right now.
Alongside fostering positivity, using games to create alternate realities and make-believe worlds can break the constraints of real-life and offer distractions to the harsh realities of current news and the monotony of lockdown life.
Plus one of the most important aspects we’re all seeking while in this period of social distancing is a sense of connection to others. While we can’t meet properly, in the real world, gamers are meeting in the virtual world. Animal Crossing and Fortnite are prime examples of this.
Working towards common goals together helps us to feel connected and touches upon the psychological need for affirmation and comradery.
So it comes as no surprise that during a pandemic lockdown, people are turning to games to keep them entertained and connected. In a world that’s being torn apart, games are helping people come together.
It’s not just families and friends fostering connections through games. As we’ve all had to adjust to our new normal, many brands have had to quickly adapt to digital ways of doing business, and find new ways to engage customers and employees alike.
An opportunity for businesses to engage
Whether a business operates in the B2B or B2C space, a large portion of audiences are likely to be playing games and be present online more than ever.
While messaging has to change and physical events are pivoting online, branded games offer entertainment and a chance to connect with audiences differently.
With that in mind, games can work across a whole range of industries. Take the retail industry for example—while high street shops are closed, those with an online store can use games as a vehicle for special offer promotions using online vouchers as prizes to drive more web traffic and sales.
Car Shades, a brand who sell bespoke and tailored sun shades, would normally be ramping up sales ahead of families planning summer trips. Instead, they’ve launched a campaign to win a set of car shades every week in a ‘we’ll meet again competition’ led by a branded game, launched on their website and across Facebook with great engagement results.
B2B organisations are also looking for new ways to connect through leveraging games to engage clients, staff, agents and suppliers. For example, one of our insurance industry clients have been entertaining brokers at home by launching a new game each month during the lockdown period. Games are a powerful way to not only engage audiences but to keep conversations going and stay relevant.
It’s clear that games have played a massive part in our lives recently and that isn’t going to change as restrictions on lockdown start to ease. Appealing to our most basic human instincts, games provide a powerful way to connect, foster feelings of positivity and create a genuine sense of community.
If you’d like light relief today, you can play our white label branded games, ready to be customised on our games page.