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Coronavirus' Impact On The Gaming Industry: E3, GDC, Game Releases, And More

In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, the gaming industry is taking precautionary measures to limit human contact.


2020 is shaping up to be an eventful year for the gaming industry, and not for the reasons that many people expected going into the new decade. Though the news headlines will probably be dominated by the release of the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 this holiday season, the industry is currently facing a series of unprecedented delays and cancellations on account of the coronavirus. It's not the only industry being affected either--western movies and television series are also seeing numerous postponements, as are Japanese anime.

The following article contains the collection of GameSpot stories about the effects of the coronavirus on the gaming industry. Fair warning, if you, like GameSpot's employees, are currently working from home under social quarantine, you may want to steer clear of reading all the articles in one go. Curbing the spread of the coronavirus in order to save lives is important, but that doesn't make the act of reading about a bunch of exciting events and long-awaited releases getting postponed feel any better. If you're feeling trapped at home, try playing some games that are great for when you're stuck inside or are good for hanging out with online friends.

Conventions And Conferences

Conventions, conferences, and other large-scale events were the first sign that the coronavirus would affect the game industry. Long before companies began implementing mandatory work-from-home policies, we were seeing major developers and publishers pull out of events like PAX East and GDC.

Though the former would go on, the latter would ultimately be postponed and transformed into a virtual event with speakers presenting their talks via livestreams and recorded videos. Several other conventions and conferences would follow suit--even the biggest of them all, E3, would go on to be canceled. E3 2021 is still happening, for now, but 2020 will not see the traditional annual migration of developers, publishers, and journalists to Los Angeles, CA.

Game And Hardware Releases

It's still too soon into 2020 to see what type of long-standing impacts the coronavirus will have on manufacturing, whether that's related to video games or the hardware used to play them. Everything that's scheduled to come out now or in Spring 2020 has likely already been in production.

The same can't be as easily said for games and hardware scheduled for Summer and Fall 2020. Companies have already reported that the coronavirus has slowed the work for certain games and hardware--which could result in delays further into the year. We'll have to wait and see.

Esports Leagues

Plenty of esports teams come together to play video games at the competitive level in seasonal leagues. But with the coronavirus still a threat, a vast majority of the ones scheduled for the first half of 2020 have been postponed or outright suspended.

Whether they're for shooters like Overwatch and Apex Legends or sports games like FIFA and Madden NFL, events are being postponed around the globe. Several leagues are moving to a livestream-only format--so they're still happening, but you'll have to settle for watching teams compete from your living room, not a crowded stadium.

The Workplace

With a social quarantine in effect, many companies have enacted mandatory work from home policies--including those in the gaming industry. The list includes tech companies like Microsoft and game developers like Bungie.

In terms of long-term effect, these policies aren't likely to have too many negative consequences. However, the coronavirus may show certain companies that several jobs that have long been believed to benefit from being stationed within an office can actually be done remotely.

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