Gaming usage up 75% as Americans spend more time at home amid coronavirus pandemic, Verizon reports
As more people practice social distancing due to coronavirus outbreak, many Americans are turning to games to keep themselves occupied while they stay at home. According to telecom giant Verizon, gaming usage went up 75% (between March 12-19) and 102% (April 2) as people spend more time at home since the outbreak emerged in the U.S.
The latest Verizon network report shows that data usage habits are changing as more and more customers move to working and studying from home. The latest week-over-week numbers during peak hour usage showed many people are turning to gaming as a way to pass the time, with the technology leader seeing a 75% increase over its networks. Video streaming increased by more than 12% and overall web traffic by just under 20%.
Surprisingly, social media remained flat. Verizon’s fiber optic and wireless networks have been able to meet the shifting demands of customers and continue to perform well. In small pockets where there has been a significant increase in usage, our engineers have quickly added capacity to meet customers’ demand.
“This week we have seen traffic from collaboration tools increase nearly 10 times over a typical day,” said Malady. “Being able to see and speak with colleagues, friends and family has become increasingly important to people even as they physically distance themselves at greater rates.”
As online collaboration climbs, growth in other internet uses has started to stabilize. Below is a snapshot of usage for April 2, 2020.
“We expect to see some traffic growth of specific applications continue even as the changes start to slow for some others,” said Malady. “Our engineers are keeping a close eye on pattern changes and indicators, and we’re ready to adjust our resources to meet the continuously changing needs of our customers.”
Verizon says usage is expected to fluctuate over time; we could see new applications emerge based on customer usage patterns as more people telecommute and more students are at home.
“As we see more and more individuals work from home and students engage in online learning, it is a natural byproduct that we would see an increase in web traffic and access to VPN. And as more entertainment options are cancelled in communities across the US, an increase in video traffic and online gaming is not surprising,” said Kyle Malady, Chief Technology Officer for Verizon. “We expect these peak hour percentages to fluctuate, so our engineers are continuing to closely monitor network usage patterns 24×7 and stand ready to adjust resources as changing demands arise.”
“We’re in an unprecedented situation,” said Malady. “We continually evaluate peak data usage times and build our networks to stay ahead of that demand. “While it is not clear yet how having millions of additional people working from home will impact usage patterns, we remain ready to address changes in demand, if needed.”
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) was formed on June 30, 2000 and is celebrating its 20th year as one of the world’s leading providers of technology, communications, information and entertainment products and services. Headquartered in New York City and with a presence around the world, Verizon generated revenues of $131.9 billion in 2019. The company offers voice, data and video services and solutions on its award winning networks and platforms, delivering on customers’ demand for mobility, reliable network connectivity, security and control.