Interpret: South Korea's PC gaming cafes have survived the pandemic

Interpret: South Korea’s PC gaming cafes have survived the pandemic

The South Korean PC gaming coffee market suffered 25% drop in gaming hours in March due to the pandemic, but surprisingly the market stabilized when players returned in April and the first week from May, according to a market analyst. To interpret.

The PC game cafe market is a huge part of the gaming industry in South Korea, as gamers have always been more social and they frequent cafes, nicknamed PC bangs, rather than playing in houses and apartments densely packed.

But during the pandemic, home PC sales are increasing and more and more players are choosing to play at home, said Jesse Divnich, vice president of research at Interpret and an excellent Apex Legends player, in a interview with GamesBeat.

What explains this?

South Korea was hit hard early by the coronavirus, but recently reopened its economy because it was able to reduce the rate of infections.

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“During COVID-19, the PC cafes were not closed. And many of the people who had to self-quarantine were still engaged and playing, “said Divnich. “It took a 25% hit because some people migrated to their homes and just played there. The game prevailed. “

Interpret data shows that the average total number of daily PC gaming hours in coffee shops in South Korea fell from 5.65 million in February to 4.38 million in March, directly coinciding with the peak of cases of coronavirus in the country.

Above: Jesse Divnich, vice president of research at Interpret.

Image credit: interpret

But in April, daily gaming hours in PC gaming cafes were almost stable at 4.21 million in March, while confirmed monthly COVID-19 cases in South Korea fell sharply.

You would think that the country’s PC gaming cafes would be closed, as they were in China. But these places managed to stay open. South Korea’s proactive measures to contain the epidemic have been universally praised, and the country’s rapid response could have saved the popular PC gaming industry, said Interpr. One of the measures was generalized population testing.

Interpreter estimates that the average daily hours played in cafes in May will rebound from April, as data for the first week already indicates a 9% increase in time spent.

Rising home PC playing

Divnich does not think things will return to what they were, which is why PC sales are increasing for individuals.

“People probably felt safer at home. And they also probably could afford to buy their own PC platforms, ”said Divnich. “The overwhelming majority are still gone, which is surprising, isn’t it?”

According to Danawa, a leader in online shopping services in the country, unit sales of assembled PCs jumped nearly 20% in the first quarter.

When looking at the year-over-year results in April, the parts used to build PCs saw sales increase overall, from 26% for keyboards to 34% for CPUs to 49% for RAM. The correlation should not be confused with causation, but Interpreter suspects that former customers of PC gaming cafes were just as committed at home.

“We think we are witnessing a slow recovery,” said Divnich. “I don’t think we’re going back to the high levels we’ve seen before, because it’s clear that there are a lot of South Korean players who have chosen to buy their own PCs and therefore don’t need to go to more PC cafes. So it looks like the new standard. “

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