Could the Coronavirus Affect the Gaming Industry?
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The coronavirus is here and, well, it’s hitting everyone rather hard. Concerns about what it can do to people and how to keep it from spreading are influencing areas of life you wouldn’t expect. Basically, the world of gaming is being hit. Even if folks aren’t getting sick, their worlds might be turned upside down. But how? Well, let’s look at what’s going on.

The most obvious way coronavirus will hit gamers has to do with events. Convention season is coming up. You’d expect things like the different PAX cons, GDC 2020, E3 2020, New York Comic-Con 2020, and other events to go on as usual, right? Wrong. 

Editor's Note: We will continue to update as more events are canceled or delayed amid concerns about the illness.

Sony and Square Enix both pulled back on PAX East 2020 activities due to coronavirus concerns. GDC 2020 has lost Epic Games, Facebook, Microsoft, and Sony as exhibitors due to the companies not wanting to risk their employees’ health, before it was delayed. E3 2020 was canceled.  We could only see even more start pulling back out of safety concerns. 

Speaking of new consoles, let’s talk about what the coronavirus means for production. Do you know where a lot of parts and bits and pieces are made? Where the systems you play are put together? If you guessed China, you win! Japan would also qualify, since so many games are made there. The coronavirus has caused a few delays already. Now, there’s no word on what sort of an effect this could have on the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. However, Valve already said there will be Valve Index VR headset shortages because the peripheral is made in China. 

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There’s another sort of shortage too. Have you heard of Ring Fit Adventure? It’s the Nintendo Switch exercise game that combines a regular workout with RPG elements. It is pretty great. Except due to the coronavirus, everyone is trying to get a copy. People have been buying them up and selling them to people trapped inside who want to work out without going outside. It is gone absolutely everywhere as of February 2020. If you see a copy, it’ll probably be around $120 or more, rather than the standard $79.99 price.

The coronavirus isn’t anything people have to really worry about. It has a very low fatality rate and the only people who are really in danger are children, the elderly, and people with preexisting health conditions that could be exacerbated by it. But it is definitely going to make gamers’ lives inconvenient by making people ill, having others take precautions, and delaying the production of products.

Jenni Lada
Jenni Lada

Writing Team
Date: 02/28/2020

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