5 Ways the Game Industry is Affected by the COVID-19Apr 25, 2020 | 1 Votes
This pandemic undoubtedly one of the worst things that ever happened today. With thousands of people affected around the world and many industries disrupted, it’s no surprise if we’re having trouble coping with this new reality.
Apart from essential businesses and services, the gaming industry has also been heavily affected. Although you can effortlessly jot down the negative effects the virus has brought to our beloved pastime, there are also positive and rather surprising outcomes.
Closed retail stores
Depending on where you are on the world, there’s absolutely almost no way we can get physical game releases today since video game retailers have been forced to temporarily shut down. This coincided with the release of extremely popular and highly-anticipated games including Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Final Fantasy VII Remake, and Resident Evil 3: Remake that features a scenario we hope won’t happen in the near future.
Many countries have closed down their borders, only allowing the entry of repatriated people and essential items. Unfortunately, physical copies of video games aren’t considered “essential” because people hate us gamers. Jokes aside, this means there’s absolutely no way we can pick up our pre-order physical copies.
This doesn’t mean their operations have shut down though. Many retailers have opted to provide their services online, opting instead to sell online codes and vouchers.
The downsides of going digital
Since we can’t have nice things - like physical game releases - today, we have to go digital. Although this is all right, there are accessibility issues.
In PlayStation’s case, there are some unlisted regions. Users from other parts of the world may opt to have an R1 - or North American account - to gain access to amazing sales and offers. Unfortunately, they cannot use a non-American credit card and address to directly purchase from PSN. Instead, they have to buy a PSN credit code from a third-party service, redeem it, then make a purchase.
Moreover, it’s also a must to consider download speeds since ISPs are forced to slow down because of huge amounts of traffic.
Release date delays
The biggest and most highly-anticipated title to be delayed because of the pandemic is another game featuring a pandemic: The Last of Us Part II. We can safely say the virus managed to take out the fungus.
On a serious note, this is huge. TLOU II was supposed to be released on May 29 but was pushed back indefinitely thanks to the COVID-19. It’s safe to say that there will likely be more delays in the near future. This is because game developers are people too and like us, might be barred from going to work.
Gaming as a social initiative
On a positive note, gaming has become a social initiative. Let’s get serious here: albeit mainstream, there’s still a stigma surrounding it. A lot of people still view it negatively, calling it the harbinger of mental illness and emotional instability.
Thing is, the WHO today is recommending everyone use gaming as a means to maintain social distancing with no less than the director-general promoting the #PlayApartTogether initiative.
Many gaming publishers and developers have answered the call. EA held a Stay and Play Cup for professional footballers (who have had their seasons canceled). Meanwhile Activision, Big Fish, and even Zynga are publicly backing the said initiative.
Digital sales and free offers
Considering people are inside their homes and can’t go out to play games, why not put up digital sales and free offers? Doing so would be a great way for publishers to be socially responsible and at the same time, gain patronage.
Developers today offer various discounts and sales, with Paradox and Devolver Digital giving out offers for their various titles. For PlayStation players, they can download and keep Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection and Journey for free.
So, what can we do?
We don’t want to sound pessimistic, but we do think the pandemic won’t end any time soon. Realistically, we’re likely just on the first wave and history has proven there will likely succeeding ones in the near future.
In any case, the best thing we can do is abide by the rules and stay put. Although this is sad and constraining, we’ll still have access to a lot of games to play, and we’re sure people are going online to deal with being cooped up inside their homes.
We can’t wait for things to be normal again. Until then though, it’s best to gradually eat up your video game backlog and try out games you never thought you’d like.