Economy May Be Ailing, But Video Games Are Booming

The+Nintendo+Switch+has+been+basically+hard+to+find+as+the+consoles+are+being+sold+by+third+parties+for+marked-up+prices.

Photo courtesy of https://www.amazon.com/Nintendo-Switch-Neon-Red-Blue-Joy/dp/B01MUAGZ49.

The Nintendo Switch has been basically hard to find as the consoles are being sold by third parties for marked-up prices.

This past month, as the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread exponentially across the world, people started to scramble for the necessities: hand sanitizer, face masks, cleaning supplies, video games. Yes, video games. Because so many are quarantined, the amount of people playing video games has dramatically risen.

Xbox Live, the online gaming platform for the Xbox console, has been flooded with users due to many being forced to stay at home, resulting in the service shutting down three times since last month. And in Italy, the telecommunications company Telecom Italia was also heavily affected. Why? According to Bloomberg, Telecom Italia CEO Luigi Gubitosi stated that there was “an increase of more than 70% of Internet traffic,” online video games being a major cause of that increase. 

But, the leader of console sales recently has been the Nintendo Switch. With almost 850,000 consoles being sold in one week, they are nearly sold out. Some, according to Forbes, are now being sold by third parties for around $450, some even inching towards $600, which is $300 more than the console’s normal price. 

Photo courtesy of https://www.animal-crossing.com/new-horizons/explore/.
An avatar on “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” catches a red snapper on the beach.

Another winning factor for Nintendo’s boom in sales was the release of the new Animal Crossing game for the Nintendo Switch. Animal Crossing: New Horizons was released on March 20, just nine days after the coronavirus was declared a pandemic. 

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a simulation game where players can manage a deserted island and its animal inhabitants. Players can gather supplies such as fish, plant trees that grow fruit, and even craft their own clothing for their avatars. 

“I have seen the new Animal Crossing game, and I have taken interest [in] it,” said eighth grader Keane Adam, who owns the Switch console. “However, I have not yet got it for myself. I think it [was good for Nintendo that] a popular game [was released] during a time where most people [happen to be] stuck inside.”

TBS students, like many who are quarantined, have also taken the opportunity to engage in gaming. In an online survey of 84 Benjamin middle school students, there was a 22% increase of students playing video games during the pandemic, and the very small amount of students playing for five to eight hours a day tripled in size, going from four to twelve students during the lockdown.

“My Nintendo Switch and Xbox have kept me entertained,” said eighth grader Tyler Kelly. “I have played The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Doom Eternal most of the time [during the quarantine].”

Though video games are a great way to fend off the almost inevitable boredom during this time, some students think it is a good idea to try something more beneficial or productive. 

“I have not been using the Switch [during] the pandemic because I think you need to get out[side],” said Adam. “You can’t just sit inside all day.”