Tag Archives: COVID-19

SuperData and the Opening of the Coronavirus

March has become the “stay at home” month for many of us, even in jurisdictions where there has been no official order to do so.  Events have been cancelled, movie theaters shut down (drive-ins are back in vogue though), and we are not going out to do many things we might have otherwise.

And so home activities have gone up.  Netflix and other streaming services are seeing a boost in activity as are video game platforms.  Video game usage is up, Steam has seen a record number of people connected, and XBox Live has fallen over a couple of times due to the sudden surge.

And into this comes the SuperData Research digital revenue chart for February 2020.

SuperData Research Top 10 – February 2020

In February things were starting up around Covid-19.  I was in Portland, Oregon in the middle of the month and once we got back events were starting to get cancelled and the movie box office was already starting to tank.

Unfortunately, we cannot tell much from the main SuperData chart, as it is just a ranking without numbers.  The gaps between games as well as any change for a particular game, is unknown and unmarked unless titles change positions or falls off the list.

So we see the usual suspects on the chart.  At the PC end, the same top four remain in the same order.  CD:GO made it to fifth as Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot had its debut month on the chart then fell off.  World of Tanks surged a bit with some updates and events in February.  World of Warcraft stayed on the list despite troubles reported last month.

And Fortnite returned to the PC end of the chart.  Last month, as Bhagpuss pointed out, Epic Games was bitching to anybody who would listen that the SuperData numbers had to be wrong, though they declined to supply their own numbers and wouldn’t tell us where they thought they should be on the chart or even if they had the data to make that assessment.  Basically Tim Sweeney being Tim Sweeney.

As with the PC end of things, the console and mobile columns of the chart, aside from some jockeying for position, remained mostly made up of the same players, with the same titles topping the lists.  Jedi: Fallen Order and Pokemon Go both made their way back on to their respective charts.

So it will be interesting to see if, come the March numbers, if any of those mostly static lists change any.  Will something new take the public by storm?  Animal Crossing: New Horizons maybe?  Or will people remain set with their old standbys and just spend more time and money there?  Word is that Pokemon Go is already making bank.

The only detail we get is in the bullet points that SuperData provides with their posting.  The opening one did say that digital revenue was up:

  • Digital games spending totaled $9.2B in February, up 4% year-over-year. Much like in recent months, mobile revenue (up 16% year-over-year) made up for lower console and PC revenue (down 22% and 6%, respectively). A release schedule largely devoid of AAA games resulted in limited spending on console games. In comparison, February 2019 featured the launches of major titles like Anthem and Apex Legends, which contributed to the year-over-year revenue drop across the free-to-play (down 49%) and premium console segments (down 17%).

But that was a small bump and mostly in mobile, while the PC and console were down.  But SuperData is not unaware of what is going on in the world and the next three bullet points were related to, or might be related to, the current world situation.

  • The spread of COVID-19 had a limited impact on gaming habits in North America and Europe in February, but this is changing. The most significant containment efforts like business shutdowns and travel restrictions did not ramp up until March. Many titles have since had an influx of players and spending as consumers have turned to games as one of the few entertainment options available.
  • There are signs Japanese consumers gravitated to games over other activities in February. The Japanese versions of Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle and Monster Strike both saw jumps in revenue and user numbers. Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle in particular had its Japanese revenue more than triple from $24.8M in January to $78.0M in February.
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive monthly active user numbers climbed to 24.0M, their highest levels ever. Player counts for the nearly eight-year-old title have trended upward consistently since the switch to a free-to-play business model in December 2018. An update to the game in late November 2019, which featured a battle pass and cosmetic character skins, has resulted in monthly revenue that is approaching the game’s previous all-time peak in July 2017. Despite the renewed interest in the title, its surge in player count may not be sustainable given the runaway success of Call of Duty: Warzone and the pending release of Valorant, an upcoming free-to-play shooter from Riot Games.

I expect that next month their analysis will include their own interpretation as to how COVID-19 has impacted the market.

As has become the custom for this post, I will add the NPD February video games chart.  As always, NPD is US only, combines PC and console sales, and doesn’t always include digital sales.

  1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019 (2)
  2. NBA 2K20 (6)
  3. Grand Theft Auto V (5)
  4. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot (1)
  5. Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 (75)
  6. Mario Kart 8* (8)
  7. Ring Fit Adventure (9)
  8. Madden NFL 20 (3)
  9. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate* (7)
  10. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (4)

* Digital sales not included

The following number is the position the game was in last month.  I have tended to ignore that number, but this month I saw that Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 had jumped up from 75th on their list, implying that NPD keeps much more detail than they share.

I will be interested to see how this chart changes next month.  If it were physical sales only, it might go completely weird, but as it combines some digital with physical, we might just see Nintendo titles disappear from the mix even as Animal Crossing jumps up onto the SuperData chart.

The remaining bullet points from SuperData:

  • A free giveaway of The Sims 4 for PlayStation Plus users led to the title’s console players outnumbering PC users for the first time (2.5M vs. 2.2M). The title has long earned the lion’s share of its revenue from the sale of in-game content, so the giveaway presented a low-risk way to attract new audience members and potentially convert them to spenders down the road.
  • The social casino title Coin Master achieved its highest earnings ever ($87.1M) as it rose to eighth place in the mobile revenue charts. The game from publisher Moon Active combines slots gameplay with town-building elements. It now vastly out-earns other mobile social casino titles like Slotomania and DoubleDown Casino and celebrities like Jennifer Lopez have appeared in ads for the title.

And so it goes.  We shall see what the March numbers bring and if certain incentives… Blizzard has a 100% xp bonus going for retail WoW right now for example… change anything.

Archaedas in the Foyer

The past weekend found us all at home.  Since we all live in locales that were under community lockdown guidelines… “shelter in place” they call it… thanks to COVID-19, we seemed to have ample opportunity to play.  Nobody had any reservations for dinner, a show to see, or a sporting event to attend certainly.

So we got together on Saturday afternoon to take another run at Uldaman and met up again in the Badlands.  If nothing else, we still had quests to finish up.  Uldaman is good at keeping your quest log supplied.  Our party for the afternoon was:

  • Viniki – level 44 gnome warrior
  • Ula – level 43 gnome mage
  • Skronk – level 43 dwarf priest
  • Moronae – level 42 night elf druid

The still seemed shy of what we might need for Archaedas… but, quests!

Before we went in though, we had to get out quests aligned.  Viniki had gotten ahead with one in the Badlands, so we spent a little bit of time getting everybody back on the same page.  That meant finding a dead dwarf then slaying some troggs.

The troggs are over there

The annoying bit was having to run back to Loch Modan to get the quest update, but three out of four of us have mounts now while the hold out, Moronae, is a druid, which means he has a travel form, so it didn’t take as long as it might of to get the quests set.

Another week in Uldaman

The missing one was Agmond’s Fate, and it was another “collect a few things” quests, in this case it was four urns.  But like the power stone drops and the fungus, there didn’t seem to be many urns about.

It didn’t help that, once again, things were a bit busy outside of Uldaman.  We were not the only ones sheltering at home.  We did find out way to one quest objective outside the instance, a large stone chest.

Well, we got this at least

But otherwise we were in competition with other groups for mobs and drops and harvestables and whatever.  The place was stripped clean, like the paper goods aisle at the store.  So the instance seemed to be our best bet.

So dramatically lit too

Inside we followed what has become the usual path.  We cleared through the troggs, met up with the lost vikings, got the bits for the Staff of Prehistoria, slew Revelosh, and set up to fight Ironaya again, just because.  Seriously, we could just bypass her, but calling her out doesn’t take much extra time and we all live in hope of a nice blue drop.

Fighting Ironaya again

I like that screen shot because Ula’s spell is in flight and because I got off a disarm on Ironaya, which always pleases me for some reason.  Ironaya’s revenge was to drop some mail bracers, and nobody in our group needs that.  Her chamber was, as usual, empty.

Again, the paper goods aisle at the store…

I like that they went so far as to put cobwebs on the shelf to emphasize their emptiness.  I was hoping they might at least have an urn.  But we were denied.

We carried on, following the left wall mostly, taking down Galgann and Grimlok in their turns.  We bypassed the Ancient Stone Keeper and went from Grimlok straight to the Hall of Crafters.  It was time to get things cleared for the big fight.

All those groups in there again

Here is where a couple weeks of practice began to pay off.  After all of the fights… and a few deaths… last week, we had finally settled on a routine that worked for us.  The rhythm for these groups was for Viniki to engage and get aggro and Moronae to call the target marker color the the current DPS focus.  Previously we had tried targeting off of Viniki or having me call the target, both of which have problems.  I use push to talk on coms, and mid-fight my fingers are sometimes too busy to get that extra key, while targeting off of Viniki can fall apart because he has to change targets to hold aggro on whole bunch.  But Moronae taking the lead on that made everything much smoother.

So we plowed through the three groups in the first room, did the golem event easily enough, then did the next set of groups, all without any major issues.  That brought us to Archaedas again.

There he is

On last week’s post Rebeard left a comment suggesting a different strategy for fighting Archaedas.  This involved starting the fight and then running back up to the room with the golem event and fighting Archaedas there.  That was supposed to slow down the arrival of the adds so that, towards the end, when he summons the his final minions you can kill him before they show up and ruin the party.  So we set up to give it a try.

Ready to start Archaedas

The whole thing nearly fell apart seconds into the event.  We started the event and then paused to make sure Archaedas would follow.  As it turns out, the doors to the chamber close and we just barely managed to squeeze out through them.  I believe you can open them up again, but I didn’t stick around to check and even if you can, doing so with Archaedas beating on your seemed like a bad plan.

And then, with Archaedas hot on our heels up the stairs to the golem room, he began beating on Skronk.  Skronk was losing a lot of health and Archaedas seemed to be able to shrug off my taunts.  Somehow we managed to get up to the top of the stairs and into the golem room and get things sorted.  The fight began.

On the plus side Ula, Skonk, and Moronae all leveled up along the way before we started this fight, so we were better equipped.  But being away from Archaedas’ room only slowed down the arrival of the first add.  After that it was the same routine, hitting Archaedas, swapping to burn down the latest add, then on to Archaedas again.  There was a question as to if we would know when we should go all out on him, but his shout of “To my side, brothers! For the Makers!” seemed to be the hint we were looking for.  We focused on Archaedas and were so very close as the big golems arrived and started pounding on me.

Getting so very close

And then he collapsed and the fight was over.

Almost over, one non-elite arrived late

Strewn about us were the corpses of many adds… though they seemed to fade quickly even as the fight was going on.  During the fight we pulled out all the stops.  Moronae hit Skronk with innervate part way through the fight and I managed to consume three superior health potions along the way.  Not a short fight.  So we lined up to take our screen shot by the fallen Archaedas.

Victory in Uldaman

That accomplished, it was time to run back down stairs to the treasure room.

The treasure room has opened

I have to say, the treasure room in Uldaman is one of the biggest teases in the game.  You run into that room and see a giant chest and piles of gold and gems and what not, but what you walk out of there with is… not much.  You go through the final quest bit, get a bit of lore

Ding! Your discs are ready!

The chest contained a couple of leather items, and Moronae only wanted one of them.  Our loot drops for the run were not great.  But we finished the instance, killed the boss, and got into his vault.  One last screen shot there, then it was back to Ironforge.

The treasure is so bright we have a backlighting problem

Back in Ironforge, after a bit of run around, we got the real prize for the whole venture… a 14 slot bag! (Plus some potions to replace the ones from that last fight.)

The best quest reward

And so we were done.  Viniki still has two unfinished Uldaman quests in his log.

Urns and fungus

But I am not sure either is worth finishing up.  After three weeks there it might be time to move on.  Next on the list is Zul’Farrak, home of the famed Carrot on a Stick trinket.  I think I still had that and the Argent Commission in my trinket slots well into The Burning Crusade.

And, as I have done with past instances, here is a replay of the group’s experiences from both the distant and the recent past:

Oddly, February and March seem to be when we visit Uldaman.  No other months will do I guess.

Fantasy Movie League Paused for Now

Two weeks into the spring Fantasy Movie League season, the whole thing is being suspended.

I suggested in my Awards Season wrap up that there might be issues come the spring because of the Coronavirus.   Me of two weeks ago was somewhat more optimistic than me of today, sitting at home under a three week long “shelter in place order” that covers most of the SF Bay Area.

Because of FML I have a few movie relates feeds in my reader, and come Monday there was a slow drum beat of bad news.  People were rightly afraid of somebody sneezing in a crowded theater, so the industry reported a 20 year low number for the past weekend box office despite having sent out reassuring press releases about sanitizing venues and spacing out patrons to maintain social distancing.

It also seemed clear that local governments might start closing non-essential business, especially those that packed groups of people into confined spaces for extended periods of time.

So the large chains began to announce they were temporarily closing all their venues.  Regal, Landmark, Alamo Drafhouse, and finally AMC all announced they were going to remain closed for at least a few weeks.  At last report it is estimated that 4,000 theaters are shut down across the country, about 80% of the national total.

And without that, there isn’t much of a box office to play against, so late Monday FML announced that the spring season was going to be paused.  The text of the announcement, since I think you need an account to get to that link:

Temporarily Pausing Fantasy Movie League
@fmlqa · FML Quality Assurance
Mar 16, 2020, 4:20pm PDT

Dear FML Community,

Like you, we have been monitoring the changes being put into place to slow down the spread of COVID-19. Given the impact on the movie industry, including changes in premiere dates and movie theater closures, we’re anticipating challenges in being able to provide you with up-to-date box office information in the coming weeks. We also want to make sure we’re doing everything in our power to help our employees stay healthy and safe.

Due to this, we have come to the difficult decision to temporarily pause Fantasy Movie League.

You’ll be able to see the final results for the weekend of March 13-15, and your standings within your leagues will update based on that. That standing will remain until we resume. We don’t know quite yet when we will be able to start up again, but we will let you know as soon as we do.

Thank you for being part of the FML community. During this hiatus, we encourage you to stay connected with others through Chatter and on noovie.com.

Stay safe,
The FML Team

Another sign of the growing crisis here.  And it isn’t clear when things will return to normal or if there will be a new normal.

EVE Fanfest Cancelled over Coronavirus Fears

CCP put up a notice today that they are cancelling EVE Fanfest in Reykjavik this year due to concerns with the spread of COVID-19, the Coronavirus.

No Fanfest 2020

The short statement reads as follows:

Dear Capsuleers,

In light of the recent and ongoing global developments surrounding the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, we have taken the decision to cancel this year’s Fanfest event in Reykjavik, Iceland.

It is with a heavy heart that we make this decision, and we know this news will be disappointing to our wonderful community, but we feel absolutely compelled to follow the most responsible course of action and prioritize the safety and well-being of our attendees, our staff and of course the general Icelandic public.

We realize that the situation a month from now could be very different, but the way events are developing both globally and in Iceland’s neighboring countries, an in-depth and serious review has made it clear that this is a necessary step to take.

We wanted to get this information to you as swiftly as possible in order to allow you to make the necessary changes to any travel or accommodation arrangements that you may have made. We will be providing further details over the course of the next few weeks, so please keep an eye on all EVE Online social media channels for these updates.

Fly safe.

If we all just stay in our capsules we won’t spread the disease.  While it has not been mentioned, I suspect that CCP will come up with some sort of virtual FanFest to be streamed.  I am sure they have a bunch of announcements planned.

There is also no word on other events, like EVE Russia or the player planned EVE Vegas, though the latter is far enough out in the future, and on the far side of summer when viruses tend to abate, that it may see no impact.

This is not the first issue with events due to the COVID-19.  Both GDC in San Francisco and PAX East in Boston have had a number of big companies pull out due to fears about spreading the virus.  This has led to a few people complaining…  I’ve seen people calling out companies for being afraid of this particular virus, comparing it to a head cold, and the mayor of Boston asked companies to reconsider… but for most it is a case of better safe than sorry.

The tone of caution sounded by healthcare professionals was amplified greatly by the US CDC putting out a updated warning about COVID-19 this week.  (latest information here) That has rightly put people on their guard.  You cannot find a N95 mask for love or money right now, and the possible economic impact of the virus will continue to ripple for quite a while.

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