Unity reports a 46% increase in daily active gamers, alongside a jump in monetisation, due to COVID-19

Unity has released their COVID-19 Consumer Gaming Report, which outlines the extent to which playing habits have changed during the coronavirus pandemic.

The report points to a dramatic increase in daily users, likely due to the social distancing measures brought on globally due to the crisis. More people are playing games than ever right now, with Unity reporting a 46 per cent increase in daily active users in HD gaming, and a 17 per cent increase in mobile gaming. The difference in weekday and weekend gaming habits have also changed, narrowing globally by 63 per cent.

This change in gaming habits has seen a surge in monetisation too. Microtransactions have grown, with In-App Purchase revenue growth for mobile games increasing by 24 per cent since the start of the pandemic.

Mobile gaming ads impressions have also increased, jumping up 57 per cent, and ad revenues increased by 59 per cent for the weeks following March 8 2020, when compared to the same timeframe in 2019.

The report also notes that Unity ads are seen by more than 114 million end users every day.

Mobile gaming has seen a significant boom during the crisis, with the number of installs increasing by 84 per cent.

“Traditional advertisers and marketers have experienced whiplash as the global economy ground to a halt, resulting in many companies freezing digital spend to protect already rapidly dissipating budgets, and to not be branded insensitive to increasingly disengaged consumers,” said Julie Shumaker, Vice President, Advertiser Solutions, Unity Technologies.

“Game developers though have enjoyed an increased performance from existing budgets, as CPIs have decreased allowing them to gain more users through their existing budget spend. The reality is more people are gaming, and this captive audience is not only engaged for longer periods of time but also spending in-game at rates typically seen around the holidays. With ad experiences that offer higher interaction rates, games offer a nearly unparalleled action-oriented consumer that will be critical for brands as they look to resuscitate sales in the second half of the year.”

Earlier this year, Unity released the 2020 Mobile Game Monetisation report, a review of the mobile games industry in 2019, that acted as a benchmark for the new report’s findings.

“Marketing and advertising adaptation will be the key to survival – not just for game developers, but for brands and retailers who can strategically evolve their approach to these new and changed consumer behaviors,” added Shumaker. “Those that understand the value of the gaming audience, and who can incorporate game advertising into their digital spends now will be further ahead of their competition when consumers find a post-pandemic balance.”

The full report includes valuable takeaways for developers publishers and advertisers regarding the performance of Unity’s monetisation platform, and a free copy of Unity’s report on COVID-19’s impact on the industry can be found here.

About Chris Wallace

Chris is a freelancer writer and was MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer from November 2019 until May 2022. He joined the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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