Video game sales surge for 2020 holiday season amid console war, pandemic

52% of Americans between ages of 18 to 34 have purchased video games as holiday gifts

As the holiday season approaches, more than half of young Americans are turning to video games.

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That’s at least what video game developer Gearbox Entertainment Company found in a new survey of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34. Fifty-two percent of this demographic indicated they have either already bought or are planning to buy a video game for a family member or friend as a gift this season, according to data Gearbox shared with FOX Business.

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Similarly, Gearbox found that 48% of American families with children have bought video games or intend to purchase video games as holiday gifts as of early November.

These findings come at a time when the console war between Microsoft and Sony is heating up.

On Nov. 10, Microsoft released its new generation Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S systems. Sony, meanwhile, released its PlayStation 5 two days after.

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Both consoles sold out almost immediately due to preorders and have become more difficult to locate at most major retailers.

Video game sales appear to have increased since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to multiple reports. (iStock)

Price-gougers have been listing the in-demand systems on digital marketplaces like eBay for double the retail cost or more, according to a report from Gamespot.

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Even fast-food chains have built up hype for the new consoles with dedicated sweepstakes. Taco Bell notably sided with the Xbox Series X, while Burger King sided with the PlayStation 5.

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The longstanding rivalry aside, video game spending is projected to reach a multibillion-dollar milestone this holiday season, according to market research from The NPD Group (National Purchase Diary Panel Inc.).

Although it is not clear whether the coronavirus pandemic is actively playing a factor, the firm estimates video game sales will reach $13.4 billion — a 24% increase from 2019. The NPD Group did note that the number of active gamers in the U.S. has grown by 30 million since 2018, for a total of 244 million players in 2020.

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Moreover, The NPD said people are playing 14 hours per week on average, which is two hours more than in 2018.

“Video games are one of the primary ways friends and family are staying connected through a difficult time,” Mat Piscatella, a U.S. video games industry analyst for The NPD Group, said in a statement. “The growth in both the number of players across all gaming segments, as well as time spent gaming or watching gaming-related content, reflects the variety and depth of gaming experiences available regardless of device preferences, gaming interests or budget.”

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When it comes down to the video game market’s performance, The NPD Group predicted that Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will be the best-selling game of the year and the Nintendo Switch will be the best-selling game console for the holiday season due to “lack of available inventory.”