I began writing this blog some time ago as a means of sharing/expressing my love for all things animation and gaming to anyone willing to pay attention. We all live in a world that at times (and more so for some than others) can be a difficult place to be in and thus, I would often turn to animation and, more so gaming, for a temporary escape. Spending hours upon hours slaying noobs with your friends online or totally getting lost in the world of an expertly crafted RPG were at times, a perfect bubble from the harsh reality of life. So, what happens when that realm, that perfect bubble, is penetrated by the very same reality we tried so desperately escape from? The answer is not to panic but, to instead take notice, get informed and take to heart that there are aspects of life that are simply inescapable. The Corona Virus (Covid-19) is here and, it is real.
COVID 19 EARLY EFFECTS ON THE GAMING INDUSTRY
This past Wednesday, The World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a pandemic after results showed 4000 deaths from 118,000 cases. Such news understandably made the reports of E3, the world largest gaming conference, cancellation inconsequential. However, purely looking at gaming and that perfect bubble that many gamers locked themselves away in, it shines a much-needed dose of reality that this disease should not be treated lightly.
E3 is Christmas for us gamers even for the thousands who tune in via streams. It's where many of us first lay eyes on new games, get updates on those previously announced and of course, soak up every drop of megaton news that's release. 2020's version was especially got many of us foaming at the mouth with anguish and excitement as it was poised for Next-Gen's grand coming-out party. Also, the economic ripples of this may be felt for years to come, starting with E3 itself. Many believed the conference was an endangered species anyway as more and more major gaming publications/developers turn to streaming platforms to get their news to gamers. Not to mention Sony's much-publicized decision to skip this year's edition was also considered, as the first shot in putting down old Yeller. Saying that this disease has already taken thousands of lives and rightfully the health and safety general populace trumps all. E3 wasn't even the first major gaming conference to be cancelled as a result of the Coronavirus as the Games Development Conference (GDC) was also forced to keep their doors closed.
EXPECT MORE CANCELLATIONS AND DELAYS
E3'S cancellation was only the tip of the iceberg. Surely, other major upcoming conferences, trade shows and public tournaments are now in danger of happening in the foreseeable future. I am not saying cancel flights but don't be surprise Gamescon, The Tokyo Game Show, PAX and Evolution 2020 all get cancelled or postponed. Even here in Jamaica where we had our first reported case of the Coronavirus this past Tuesday will see national esports qualifiers and workshops follow suit.
'Meh Marlon, we will still have new games to play'.
Yes, the games that were already long in development has a high change in making their release date. The likes of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Resident Evil 3 Remake and The Last of Us 2 may very well be unaffected. But, there is a high chance that many projects may be put on hold as some development studios may suspend operations in the sake of public safety. Our precious Next-Gen consoles may be in the most danger. If the outbreak is not contained and, the worldwide situation doesn't improve, manufacturing will remain as one of the heaviest hit. Thus, at that point, it would be difficult to conceive that fully functioning assembly lines will be in operations to pump out newly minted PS5s and Xbox Series Xs. Heck, we are already seeing its effect on Nintendo Switch productions.
THAT BEACON OF HOPE AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL
So is it time to curl up into fetal position, panic and think the world is ending? Nope! Use your time well and get to know more about COVID-19 paying special attention to all of the protective measures you need to aid you with taking care of yourselves, your love ones and your fellowman. As for gaming, like us, it will survive. Next-Gen and its gaming glory will still come while many of the world's major publishers/developers have already given strong hints that they will turn to streaming as a means of mitigating some of the blow from E3 cancellation.
Again, Gaming, Animation, Television, Movies, Sports will all live on...SO PLEASE KEEP SAFE SO YOU CAN TOO.
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Hey I am Marlon Mcfarlane the writer here at Blue Crescent Studio & a longtime lover of all things Animation & Gaming.