Coronavirus causing spike in Chinese video game use

Sales of the top 10 to 50 video games in China have surged 100 percent since January 23

While coronavirus continues its deadly spread through China, for the video game industry, there may be a silver lining.

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“A very popular game in China known as 'Honor of Kings,' which made roughly $286 million a day in the past two weeks, was able to peak at $392 million,” Gamer World News entertainment host “Captain” Rob Steinberg told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney.

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He added that in the short term, the virus is having an effect on the Chinese video game market. Since the beginning of January, trends in the Chinese video game industry have been shifting in a positive direction, according to Steinberg.

Atari Flashback 2 video game console. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma,File)

The 'Honor of Kings'' daily active user count has increased from around 65 million to 100 million, according to Steinberg.

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In China, more than 682 million people play video games, according to Statista. Estimates suggest more than 50 percent of the country will play games by 2024.

More important than the sheer increase in the volume of gaming since the coronavirus outbreak, games are more and more able to monetize these gamers as they are trapped at home, Steinberg said. This is largely done through in-game purchases and “peripheral” aspects of the game.

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“We’ve seen in the top 10 to 50 games that the game sales themselves have surged about 100 percent since January 23. That includes games like, you know, Blizzard-Activision’s 'Call of Duty Mobile,'” Steinberg said.

The long-term effect of the virus, however, could be more negative. According to Steinberg’s estimates, 30 to 50 percent of all the artwork put in games — including artwork for large companies like Activision, Ubisoft and Blizzard — comes from China.

“If in the long term this affects people from going into work, it could have a detrimental effect to games coming out here in the West,” Steinberg said.

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