In a world let loose during the COVID-19 pandemic, video game makers are ‘doubling down.’

Iran PressSci & Tech: At the height of the pandemic, people stuck indoors passed the time by playing tons of video games.

Now, as countries slowly reopen, that behavior is set to change. And video game makers have warned that as people head outdoors again, their sales will plunge and spending on games may dip for the first time in at least a decade, The New York Times reported.

But the companies aren’t cutting back in anticipation. Far from it.

Consider Riot Games, which produces League of Legends. “We’re doubling down,” said Nicolo Laurent, the company’s chief executive. “We’re hiring like crazy.”

Then there’s Microsoft’s Xbox. “Our investment in gaming has never been larger than it is now,” said Phil Spencer, who heads the business.

Video game companies are among the pandemic winners that are declaring they still plan to go full steam ahead, even as the coronavirus lockdowns that powered their businesses over the past 15 months have largely been lifted. Other tech companies that flourished while catering to a remote society — including Zoom and Peloton — have also said they expect to continue spending, expand operations and hire.

It’s a counterintuitive bet. But some of the companies said they could deploy the money they had stockpiled from the year’s windfall to return to the growth trajectory they were on before the pandemic accelerated it.

When industries predicted slowing growth in the past, companies often reduced costs, but those downturns and recoveries were typically unpredictable, related to a tumbling stock market and recessions, said Bill Pearce, an assistant dean at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

With the ebbing of the pandemic, businesses have “better clarity and more confidence to invest” because of coronavirus vaccines and predictions of how people will respond when the world opens up, Pearce said. Some industries that followed conventional wisdom by slowing down, like car dealerships, are now kicking themselves because they can’t fulfill surging demand, he said.


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