China’s gaming industry is on the rise as more and more Chinese citizens turn to online gaming as a way to kill time amid the coronavirus outbreak. Since the Chinese government implemented a total lockdown in Hubei province, locals have stayed indoors to avoid exposure to the virus without a lot to do.

The coronavirus first appeared in Wuhan, China in December and has since then infected at least 60,000 and killed 1,300 people worldwide. With millions of Chinese forced to stay indoors and avoid public places, the Chinese New Year holiday has been more significant for the online gaming market than ever.

According to reports, the Chinese online entertainment industry, particularly video streaming and online gaming, has seen a significant upswing in in-game spending and number of active users since the coronavirus outbreak, prompting major publishers to roll out more marketing activities to take advantage of the current situation in China and attract more gamers. Just recently, Tencent and NetEase introduced content updates and relevant events to get more people to download games and play while on quarantine.

Although the coronavirus scare has led to cancellations of e-sports tournaments throughout the country, it has allowed multiple games to hit record numbers during the lockdown period. Game downloads on Apple’s app store in China have increased by an astounding 27.5% year over year and revenue has risen by 12.1%.

Tencent’s “Honor of Kings” also hit its all-time peak during the week of Jan. 30, while streaming numbers for “Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds” and “League of Legends” show the games are now twice as popular as they were in China during the 2019 Lunar New Year.

“We attribute most of the increase to the impact of the novel coronavirus which led to more gamers staying at home instead of traveling or socializing outside of the home, allowing more time to play games,” noted research firm Niko Partners in a report.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, Chinese authorities have extended the Lunar New Year holiday by almost three weeks in several places, giving locals more time to play online games. Zhanchao Yang, a construction worker from Dongguan, Guangdong, said he’s been playing online games more frequently lately because of the outbreak. “During the New Year, we’re usually home anyway,” he said. “Due to the coronavirus outbreak, we’re virtually always home,” he added.

laptop computer work Pictured: Laptop computer on a desk. Rawpixel/ Pixabay