Unity Technologies Releases COVID-19 Consumer Gaming Report

Nineteen key takeaways about the near 50% increase in HD gaming audience, analysis of behavioral data and advertising performance

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has forced immediate, profound lifestyle shifts for consumers around the world, many of whom have turned to gaming for much-needed distraction and social connections. According to a new report released today by Unity Technologies, the world’s leading platform for creating and operating interactive, real-time 3D (RT3D) content, there has been an increase of nearly 50% in daily active users of HD games due to COVID-19. The report’s findings stem from a cross-platform study focused on COVID-19’s impact on consumer gaming for the period from January 1 to mid-May 2020 as compared to the same period in 2019, including an analysis of player behaviors in games, and how games have thus far proven to be stable revenue generators during a global economic crisis.

The data in the report was sourced globally from mobile games that deploy Unity’s monetization platform as well as games made with Unity for PC and mac OS, Android, and iOS, and Unity’s deltaDNA which provides sophisticated player engagement tools for game-makers powered by deep data analytics. Unity Ads are seen by more than 114 million end users every day.

Key report findings include:

  • More people are playing than ever, with a 46% daily active user increase in HD gaming and 17% increase in mobile gaming
  • Weekend and weekday differences in gaming behavior narrowed globally by 63%
  • Microtransactions have grown, with In-App Purchase (IAP) Revenue growth for mobile games increasing by 24% since the pandemic was declared
  • Mobile gaming ad impressions increased by 57% and ad revenues increased by 59% for the weeks following March 8, 2020 as compared to the timeframe in 2019
  • Mobile gamers are installing more apps than ever, with the number of installs increasing by 84%

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 Monetization Report: a comprehensive review of the 2019 mobile gaming industry which has served as a benchmark for the new report’s updated findings. When it came to engagement and IAP revenue in 2019, Unity found that thoughtful ad implementation raised retention, converted more players, and contributed to IAP revenue. Games that weren’t running ads prior to doing so experienced a 2.3% increase in D7 retention1 and a 1.1% increase in the percentage of users who bought at least one IAP. Today’s report finds D302 retention up by 8.8% alone since the week of March 8, when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.

“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 report includes several valuable takeaways for game developers and publishers, as well as advertisers, regarding the performance of the Unity monetization platform, and made with Unity games, from the beginning of 2020. For a free copy of Unity’s COVID-19’s Impacts on Consumer the Gaming Industry: 19 Takeaways from COVID-19 report, please visit: www.unity.com/covid19-report.

1 Mobile App D7 Retention refers to the number of people who opened an app 6 – 7 days after installing it. This metric is traditionally only available for a 28-day attribution window.

2 Mobile App D30 Retention refers to the number of people who opened an app 30 days after installing it.

About Unity Technologies

Unity is the world’s leading platform for creating and operating real-time 3D (RT3D) content. Creators, ranging from game developers to artists, architects, automotive designers, filmmakers, and others, use Unity to make their imaginations come to life. Unity’s platform provides a comprehensive set of software solutions to create, run and monetize interactive, real-time 2D and 3D content for mobile phones, tablets, PCs, consoles, and augmented and virtual reality devices. The company’s 1,400+ person research and development team keeps Unity at the forefront of development by working alongside partners to ensure optimized support for the latest releases and platforms. Apps developed by Unity creators were downloaded more than three billion times per month in 2019 on more than two billion unique devices. For more information, please visit www.unity.com.


Amanda Taggart

Unity Communications

+1 310-980-9587

Ryan M. Wallace

Unity Communications

+1 917-442-2305

Richard Barnes

Unity Communications

+44 7496 006 906

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