Pandemic causes increase in video gaming in Rexburg

Controller Photo credit: Mark Epley

With this year’s pandemic, people have spent more time indoors to adhere to social distancing guidelines and self-isolation. As a result, and according to the Hollywood Reporter, Verizon Wireless reported a 75% increase in gaming as of March 20. People across the nation have turned to video gaming and some people in Rexburg have done the same.

Amy Davis, a senior studying therapeutic recreation, explained how she has bought more video games during the pandemic than before. Davis only previously purchased three different video games on special occasions, now Davis said her and her husband have purchased five or more.

She explained that a part of her routine has become playing video games.

“It’s kind of just part of the routine, there is nothing else to do, so might as well do that,” Davis said.

Davis also explained how gaming became a part of her social life. Now her and her friends play Animal Crossing online together. It helped her to keep the interactions alive with her friends and her husband.

“It helped us to connect to people from afar,” Davis said.

Ed Davenport, the manager for Game Pulse in Rexburg, noticed an increase in business and interest in games after businesses could reopen. People came into the shop to play many in-person games. He also says the sale of dice and other board games have been popular. Though store attendance has been down, the purchase of various types of games has been up.

“People are just making games, people are selling games, people are using games and it’s at an incredible rate,” Davenport said.

Davenport explained that on an online game he played, he spent some money on in-game purchases. The servers for the game shut down afterward and he didn’t get to keep any of his purchases. Davenport believes that this is why people are buying more physical games along with video games. He calls it the “spiritual hallowing” of the nation.

“We’ve actually had a ton of new players,” Davenport said. “A ton of new players in Warhammer 40 thousand, we’ve had a ton of new players in Magic, and a ton of new people playing D&D for the first time. So yeah, it’s really kind of incredible to see this reinvigoration of physical hobbies.”