COVID-19’s world-altering effects have of course had an impact on the video games industry, in some varying ways. On the one hand, industry and companies have been negatively affected in the same way as any other industry, but with regard to game interest and sales, in some cases, people are playing video games more than ever before.
Interested to find out more on how the Coronavirus pandemic has affected different aspects of the video game industry, from game delays to event cancellations, to sales figures? Here are some interesting bits of information about what’s been going on in the gaming sphere as of late.
With game developers and game development studios working to the best of their ability from home, but restricted in a range of different ways, some games have received delays at the hands of the pandemic. Here are some examples:
- Mojang’s Minecraft Dungeons is a title that’s received an ever-so-slight delay at the hands of the Coronavirus pandemic, now launching at the end of May rather than April.
- Huge PlayStation blockbuster The Last of Us Part II from Crash Bandicoot creators Naughty Dog also received a slight delay, due to arising logistical issues surrounding the pandemic. With a game of this scale that’s so highly anticipated, it’s understandable that problems surrounding physical disk production of tie-in console bundles could result in a temporary postponement.
- In a galaxy far far away, the re-release of Star Wars Episode 1: Racer has also been delayed by the porting game development studio Aspyr media. Originally slated for a May 12th release, the team announced on Twitter that they would need a little more time due to work restrictions caused by the pandemic.
As mass gatherings that are basically a no-go during this current pandemic we find ourselves in, famous and anticipated industry events such as E3 and Gamescom have also been cancelled entirely, with digital events and live-streamed announcements taking their place. Many spectators watch from home typically anyway, and there is speculation as to whether these events will be able to survive a year away or whether they’ll peter out entirely.
From a sales perspective, it makes complete sense that figures would be up during the COVID-19 pandemic, as there are many of us that are stuck indoors self-isolating, and so want to play video games or watch films in order to pass the time. One key standout title has been Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Nintendo Switch, which has done incredibly well, selling over 13 million units already (with 50% of those sales completely digital), and becoming the best selling game in Japan on the system.
Hardware is another interesting aspect of the conversation; as more and more people are trying to get their hands on a games console in order to play something to pass the time during the lockdown, scarcity is growing, and it’s becoming harder to get what you want. With the games themselves, customers can of course just purchase digitally through the respective consoles’ online storefronts, gaining access to the title instantaneously, but with hardware, it just isn’t that simple.
To add to this point further with another example of hardware that’s difficult to get hold of, the Nintendo Switch game Ring Fit Adventure – which includes activity accessories such as a ‘ring-con’ attachment that you use to press inwards and also a leg strap – is another elusive piece of stock. Praised for being a fitness game that has been shown to have genuine effects, it’s no surprise that the title (and its accompanying peripherals) would be like gold dust at this current point in time. People are not able to go to the gym or about their exercise regime as normal, and so are resorting to in-home solutions.
Here’s a quick tip to finalise: If you’re looking for a video game to help pass the time while you’re stuck indoors during quarantine/self-isolation, simply take a look around and do your research, as there are a huge amount of incredible deals and offers that you could be taking advantage of. As a prime example, for starters, Epic Games are offering Grand Theft Auto V completely free to people that sign up on PC, and if you pair that with the free GTA Online coins/bonuses you can get if you’re an Amazon Prime member (giving you Twitch Prime benefits), you’re sure to have a whale of a time without spending a penny.
If you’re one of the people struggling to get your hands on a games console due to shortages, and your PC isn’t up to scratch enough to run current titles, you might also want to try Google Stadia, which is currently offering two months of its pro service for absolutely free. Again, simply sign up with your Google account, and get started with games such as Destiny 2 and Thumper.