I’m sure by now you’ve all see the effects of the dreaded Coronavirus or COVID-19 as it’s officially called. Not only has this gone on spread to multiple countries since its original outbreak, but it has also led to a number of fatalities. It’s nasty, that’s for sure. But since we’re a gaming and geek culture site, let’s talk about something that’s not as depressing, yet equally frustrating; the effect that COVID-19 has had on the gaming industry.
For health concern reasons, we’ve already seen companies either pull out from events or have said events completely canceled. We’ve seen this already with PlayStation and Capcom removing themselves from PAX East 2020. Nintendo is also having issues with the production of its upcoming Animal Crossing New Horizon special edition Nintendo Switch. Facebook Oculus’s Quest VR headsets production has been slowed. Then we have the biggest example to date, with the 2020 Game Developers Conference being postponed as companies such as PlayStation, EA, Kojima Productions, Microsoft, Epic Games, and Facebook, have all announced they were no longer attending. Due to this, the GDC has offered to refund those purchased badges to attend the event.
Yes, that’s a big bummer for those who were looking to attend GDC 2020 to talk about their upcoming plans and if you don’t think this will have lasting effects, you’re not looking at the big picture. However, there’s a number big event that looks to be affected by COVID-19. Yep, I’m talking about the upcoming E3 2020 event. Sure, the ESA has already had more than a fair share of issues and many weren’t even sure if E3 would take place this year. But now, we’re looking it possibly being canceled or postponed due to a new set of circumstances. Just as the GDC was, E3 could become the next unwilling participant of COVID-19.
So far, the ESA has stated they will continue as planned with the event. However, as of March 4th, 2020, they made an update that shows they may be willing to do what’s needed to protect them and the public (Source: Gamesindustry.biz)
“The health and safety of our attendees, exhibitors, partners, and staff is our top priority. While the ESA continues to plan for a safe and successful E3 show June 9-11, 2020 — we are monitoring and evaluating the situation daily.
“Our E3 team and partners continue to monitor COVID-19 via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). We are actively assessing the latest information and will continue to develop measures to further reduce health risks at the show.
“The city of Los Angeles, which has declared a state of emergency, offered the following guidance:
The state of emergency allows the city and county to qualify for additional funding needed to prepare for COVID-19 in the future if such funds are needed at all.
City officials will continue to prioritize measures and guidelines that are focused on cleanliness and safety.
The city of Los Angeles website is a source for local information.
“Again, please know that we will continue to evaluate new developments and provide updates, as needed.”
It wasn’t that long ago that the ESA announced that they had several companies that were still attending E3 2020. Companies such as Nintendo, Microsoft, Ubisoft, Sega, Bandai Namco, and several others. I have no doubt that any of these companies would have been at the event. However, due to recent events, we’ve already seen both Nintendo and Microsoft bailout of GDC 2020. So there’s no reason to think that we wouldn’t see this happen to E3 2020 as well. Which could have huge implications if this happens.
The entirety of E3 as a gaming event has been in question for months, with many (including us) stating that this event needs to evolve or get left behind. What would happen if many companies ultimately pull out from E3 2020 and decide to put on an online stream, similar to what Nintendo already does? If those end up being successful, why would they even return to E3 or for that matter any other gaming event? It certainly puts us at an interesting crossroads, that’s for sure. It seems farfetched but it’s a possible outcome. Especially with COVID-19 picking up more and more momentum. Compounded by the fact that the medical industry still doesn’t have a clear understanding on how this has been spreading, or how long it will take to come up with a vaccine to protect us from COVID-19. Adding to that, it’s been estimated that we’re a year away from a possible cure.
Now, I’m not here to scare you, but to lay out the facts. As a gamer, you should be concerned about COVID-19 and its effects on not just your health but your hobby as well. Right now, the public is concerned, scared and rightfully so. People are avoiding contact, wearing face masks and sadly, spreading false information as part of this outbreak. Protect yourselves and think about what’s best for you. Even if an event that you were planning on attending isn’t canceled, you should think about making an appearance.
More than anything, stay safe out there my friends. Sadly, this is going to get worse before it gets better.