As demand for video games soared during lockdown in the US, gaming giants responded, competing for a slice of the action by spending $46.2 million in April this year – more than double the $21.4 million seen in January.

The numbers come from research by sales platform MediaRadar, who analysed gaming companies’ US ad spend. Despite the pandemic and plunging ad spend in other sectors, year-on-year gaming ads spending was up 18%.

Verizon estimates that video game playing was up 75% during peak hours in the early part of the lockdown.

Video game retailers responded first to increased gaming time, reports The Drum. The top five were Gamefly, PlayStation Store, G2A, Steam and Gamestop, who between them spent $6.8m in the quarter. 

Individual games for consoles and computers had the most dramatic increase in ad spend, according to the study. Spending by game titles increased by 60% in the period, from $10 million in January to $16 million in April.

The top five games in terms of ad spending were: Final Fantasy VII: Remake, Best Friends, Doom Eternal, Forge of Empires and RBI Baseball, which between them splashed out $7.6 million during the quarter.

“The video game industry is a significant beneficiary of the free time some consumers now have during the pandemic,” Todd Krizelman, CEO and co-founder of MediaRadar, said.

“Advertisers are taking note of the shifting tastes in media consumption and are aggressively moving to get in front of this captive audience.”

Mobile gaming also held up during the period, despite the lack of commuting on public transport, and ad spending reflected this, researchers found. Spending on mobile games went up from $5 million in January to $19 million in April. The games that saw the biggest spend were: Candy Crush, Raid: Shadow Legends, Adventure Academy, June’s Journey, and TerraGenesis, which between them accounted for spending of over $7 million in April.

Sourced from Hollywood Reporter, The Drum; additional content by WARC staff