May 6, 2021

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sony’s The Last of Us Part II — a game about a deadly pandemic turning people into zombies — ironically got delayed from its original May 29 release date.

Sony said in a tweet: “… [L]ogistically, the global crisis is preventing us from providing the launch experience our players deserve.”

Sony is not the only gaming company that has had to delay video games due to COVID-19. Games like Deathloop (Bethesda Softworks), Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe (Galactic Cafe), and Cyberpunk 2077 (CD Projekt) have also faced delays and other issues. Some of these games have been released, such as Cyberpunk 2077, but most games have been pushed into early 2021. 

On one hand, the video gaming industry has increased its sales, due to people staying at home, but there has been a decrease in productivity.

Inside of an EB Games store. Photo Credit: Jessica Winget

It is no surprise that the video game industry has increased sales due to COVID-19, as people have to self-isolate and need entertainment.

According to Eurogamer, Doom Eternal, released in mid-March, had the best sales weekend of any game in the series. Animal Crossing has broken sales records.

The production of video games has also been maintained. Most developers are working at home, but this has also had a negative. A big issue for developers working at home is their children, who are also staying home. Because of this, it is difficult for production work to be done on time.

Another issue is the fact that the sales on physical copies of video games have decreased, meaning that printing, shipping, and selling have been affected.

The games themselves have not been the only challenge in the video game industry. Gaming events have been either delayed, cancelled, or all moved online. The Mobile World Congress, an event where you can gain insight into cutting edge technology and share your vision on a global stage, was supposed to hold their event in Barcelona, Spain in March 2020 but was cancelled as several China-based vendors had to cancel.

More recently, The Game Awards held their event on December 10, with developers speaking virtually. This seems to be the route most gaming events have taken, such as 2020 Blizzcon, the Tokyo Game Show, and The 2020 Game Community Expo.

All in all, there are pros and cons to the gaming industry and its effects with COVID-19. There is one thing that keeps video games going: the community itself. With the community’s support, more and more games are getting release windows, and more gaming conventions are moving digitally. 

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