As COVID-19 took hold and many were forced to stay home during vast stretches of 2020, it seemed that one hobby took hold more than any other:
. According to data from research group NPD, four out of five consumers in the United States played a video game in the last six months, and those gamers were spending more time and money on the hobby than ever before.
In a year when we were forced to spend time indoors, games seemed like a perfect fit not just for fun, but as a way of keeping connected with friends and family. But with life hopefully returning to some semblance of normal in 2021, what will happen now to all of these new gamers? Just how much did the industry grow last year, and what are game creators and personalities doing to make sure this new audience sticks around? Will gaming's pandemic growth be a continuing boom for the world's biggest entertainment sector, or will the industry level off in 2021?
GameSpot -- in conjunction with its sister site CNET -- is exploring this key issue as part of CNET's CES 2021 Thought Leadership Panels. Panelists include NPD Group executive director Mat Piscatella; Innersloth (makers of the hit game Among Us) community director Victoria Tran; and former video game journalist and co-founder/host at Kinda Funny, Greg Miller.
The panel -- which will air on Jan. 12, at 2 p.m. PT -- can be seen at CNET or on CNET's YouTube channel.