Ever since the coronavirus outbreak, it has caused major repercussions on the entertainment world, especially for video games. One might think that this industry would at least remain unaffected, but that is certainly not the case once the pandemic hit. As everyone is in quarantine, for the time being, video games have become a way of passing the time like watching a movie or TV show. Even though gaming hasn’t fully been diminished by these circumstances, the coronavirus has made an effect on the industry that is both good and bad.
Players have been obsessing over some new titles that have just come out and this pandemic has become the perfect time for people to dive into these new games. One perfect example would be Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the latest entry in the popular social simulation series that released on the Nintendo Switch this past March. The game has been successful since its release, and it’s partially due to the pandemic that has players seeking to escape onto their island within the game while they’re stuck at home. Selling over 5 million copies in digital copies has already broken a record for the console as it has allowed players to customize their island and with tons to do as far as gameplay is concerned. Similarly, the action-horror game Doom Eternal also exceeded expectations when it was released on the same day, beating the sales of its predecessor, Doom 2016. With people stuck at home during this time, players have found a way to make social distancing fun while still being able to play with others worldwide.
However, it has become difficult for others to enjoy the latest titles if they want physical copies rather than download it onto their console. Games like Final Fantasy VII Remake had been released early in Europe and Australia due to concerns of distribution during the pandemic. Doom Eternal was also released a day earlier than Animal Crossing: New Horizons in order to separate the crowds who wanted the latter game instead. With shipping facing delays, it’ll be hard for one to obtain their games in the mail, with stores like GameStop changing their store hours and only allowing curbside deliveries for those who would pick up their items in person. Even consoles like the Nintendo Switch have sold out of stock, which made it difficult for anyone to order one.
With countless stores closed due to the pandemic, some of them have changed their ways of reaching out to customers. Gamestop has been one of the only stores that have remained open due to being essential even though it has raised some controversies for both customers and its employees during this time of crisis. They have changed their store hours while also regulating curbside deliveries for those who want to pick up their items in person. Even Best Buy and Target have used the same method to reach out to their customers if they prefer not to get their stuff delivered to their homes. It hasn’t stopped consoles from delivering some astounding sales on their digital stores for big and small titles. That would surely help bring some revenue for these companies as the coronavirus continues to affect the industry.
Upcoming games aren’t as lucky as some releases had to be pushed back from their original dates. For the sequel The Last of Us Park II, the survival horror game had to be pushed back to June 19th as the pandemic affected its release. Other titles like Iron Man VR was also taken off the schedule, but no release date has been given for the upcoming Marvel game. Other games like Someday You’ll Return or Wasteland 3 were pushed back to new release dates on May 5 and August 28, respectively. These unfortunate events have caused new products from reaching their original release window and making certain moves so everyone can get their hands on the latest titles.
The pandemic has also affected big industry events for this year. One of gaming’s biggest event of the year, E3, had been cancelled, which was planned for June 9th for the weekend. Taking place annually at the LA Convention Center, many video game developers had to cancel their appearance. However, several publishers have made plans to present their latest projects during those dates with virtual presentations. Nintendo has been doing that for a few years with their Nintendo Direct videos, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if some of these developers went that route. Developers like Ubisoft, Devolver Digital, and Limited Run Games have planned to hold their own digital events in lieu of the E3 cancellation to showcase their games. Even Microsoft has plans to host an online presentation for their games as well as news on their upcoming console that is planned to launch later this year.
With new consoles on the horizon, both Sony and Microsoft have been slowly teasing their newest creations for the public. Even though it’s highly unlikely that these new consoles will be released by the end of 2020, both companies still plan on delivering some news on the PS5 and the Xbox Series X. Depending on how long the outbreak will last, it is hard to tell when these consoles will come out, but it hasn’t stopped the public from anticipating what is in store from the next generation of consoles.
Despite some setbacks, video games don’t seem like it’ll be slowing anytime soon as this pandemic rages on.