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The video game industry has been substantially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in various ways, most often due to concerns over travel to and from China or elsewhere, and delays in the manufacturing processes within China.
In contrast to many other economic sectors that are drastically affected by the pandemic, the video game industry has been more resilient. Most video game developers, publishers, and operators have been able to maintain operations with employees working from home remotely to sustain game development and digital releases, though as movement control orders persisted, some productivity issues have arisen.With many people globally at home and unable to work, online gaming has observed record numbers of players during the pandemic as a popular activity to counter physical distancing for society, a practice recommended by the World Health Organization that helped boost revenues for many companies in the gaming industry.
There have still been negative impacts on the industry, notably with major trade events like E3 2020 cancelled or postponed which may have impacted relationships between the smaller developers and publishers. This has particularly impacted indie developers who typically use these events for face-to-face meetings with potential partners to gain funding and publishing support, and caused them to have to delay or cancel projects.Many esport leagues had to alter plans for their games, transitioning from live events to remote play or cancellation altogether. Portions of the sector that relied on physical products, such as retail stores and peripheral makers, as well as those dependent on in-person activities such as quality assurance through playtesting, ratings evaluation, and marketing, also struggled with global stay-at-home orders.
As the origin of the pandemic, China is expected to impact the supply chains for electronics, which may limit hardware availability once the pandemic begins to be resolved. However, it did not impact plans for Microsoft and Sony to release the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 respectively in Fall 2020.
Many trade events and expositions for the industry were cancelled or postponed due to bans against public gatherings during the pandemic. E3 2020 was cancelled by March 2020 by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).On 11 March 2020, the ESA affirmed that they cancelled the physical event as they were looking to arrange for virtual presentations from its exhibitors, but by April 2020, they determined that the logistics of arranging a virtual event was too difficult due to disruptions from the pandemic, and cancelled the event in 2020, with plans in place to return in 2021. The ESA offered the E3 website to help partners support product announcements in lieu of E3's cancellation. Additional events were arranged to substitute for the trade event, such as Geoff Keighley arranging a four-month Summer Game Fest with several game developers, publishers, and other industry leaders to provide announcements and game demos from May to August 2020.
Other cancelled or postponed events included:
Most esports events are based on online games, but are typically played in local arenas to reduce network latency between players as well as to provide an audience. The pandemic caused many of these events to either become cancelled or switch to a fully online format for 2020:
While many traditional physical sports games, seasons, and playoffs were cancelled due to the pandemic, the organizing leagues turned to video game equivalents as alternative entertainment, using the professional athletes from their leagues within the games. Some examples of this included:
Television networks which normally would have shown the sporting events that were cancelled have turned to both these replacement sports programs as well as other esport tournaments as replacement programming during the pandemic.On 14 June 2020, the BBC reported that about 22 million sports viewers turned to virtual races when lockdowns were implemented. Questions over the future of esports rose with Formula 1 returning in July 2020.
Generally, sales of video games have increased as a result of stay-at-home and lockdown orders from the pandemic, as people turned to video games as a pastime. US$10.9 billion, up 9% in 2020 compared to 2019 according to NPD. An increase at this point, near the planned end of the eighth generation of video game consoles,was unusual and was attributed to the pandemic. By July 2020, NPD Group reported that the total sales of video game hardware and software within the United States in the first six months of 2020 reached US$6.6 billion, the highest since 2010.The NPD Group reported that video game sales in North America in March 2020 were up 34% from those in March 2019, and video game hardware up by 63% – which included more than twice the number of units of the Nintendo Switch console. Net spending across the first quarter of 2020 in the United States reached
Some specific examples of game software and hardware sales affected by the pandemic include:
Game publishers and developers have expressed concerns that further extensions of the movement control orders from the pandemic may incur additional delays. One major factor that may cause delays is the ability to capture voice acting without access to studios during physical distancing for society, even though some of members have considered working from residence remotely to avoid troubling situations.An example of this happened with the Western release of Persona 5 Strikers whose voice acting in English was meant to start in April 2020 but was delayed due to the pandemic. The actors later received audio equipment from Atlus so that they could work at home.
As much of the world's population have been quarantined due to the pandemic, video game playing and other Internet use has increased significantly. Steam had over 23 million concurrent players during March 2020, surpassing all previous recordswhile over three billion hours of content were watched on Twitch over the first quarter of 2020, a 20% increase from the previous year's. Microsoft reported a substantial increase in users of its Xbox Game Pass service in the months of March and April 2020, bringing it to over 10 million subscribers. GeForce Now capacity was temporarily exhausted in Europe before additional server capacity was added.
The additional bandwidth from video games and other Internet services created concerns that critical bandwidth would not be available for medical and other key infrastructure elements necessary to mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2.To help reduce demand during peak hours, the Akamai content delivery network for many video games and major digital storefronts such as Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, and Steam capped download speeds and encouraged the users to download at off-peak hours.
During quarantine and lockdown, Ubisoft announced an update for Just Dance 2020 to keep players active:customers who owned the game could access a month of the Just Dance Unlimited service. Ubisoft also announced in its official forum that the second event entitled "Power Gala", which was part of the second season "Feel the Power" in Just Dance 2020, had been postponed. The developer explained that the company wanted to protect its team due to the pandemic, and that "although [their] team still work[ed] hard to make our servers work as smoothly as possible at home", this needed to be resolved by postponing the content. Two tracks from Just Dance Unlimited were made free to make up for the delay.
The Japanese game ratings body Computer Entertainment Rating Organization was forced to close operations from early April through 7 May, and upon reopening, implemented appropriate controls that reduced work hours, which is expected to delay some releases in Japan as they await a rating for retail release.
With the need to stay inside one's home to avoid infection, many gamers flocked to online games as a substitute for social interactions they would otherwise miss. Animal Crossing: New Horizons was especially particular, with people around the world turning to the game's recreation of ordinary daily life activities and social networking features as a substitute for the normalcy disrupted by the pandemic.Fall Guys and Among Us were particularly popular during this time, with the former being released during the pandemic and the latter receiving a surge of popularity. Some non-online games were also thematically compared to the pandemic, such as The Longing . Microsoft Flight Simulator, first released in August 2020, has been considered popular during the pandemic, as many saw it as a safer alternative to traveling.
Level-5 Inc. is a Japanese video game developer and publisher based in Fukuoka. The company was founded in October 1998 by Akihiro Hino after he departed from the now defunct Riverhillsoft. Early in its history, the company enjoyed a close relationship with Sony Computer Entertainment, with many of its games then funded by and produced in conjunction with them. Starting in 2007, the company started self-publishing its games in Japan, with other companies such as Nintendo handling publishing on the relevant platforms internationally. In more recent years, their games have been self-published. The company is best known for their Dark Cloud, Professor Layton, Inazuma Eleven, Ni no Kuni, Yo-kai Watch, and Snack World franchises.
2017 saw the release of numerous video games as well as other developments in the video game industry. The Nintendo Switch console was released in 2017, which sold more than 14 million units by the end of 2017, exceeding the underperforming Wii U lifetime sales, and helped to revitalize Nintendo, alongside the "retro" Super NES Classic Edition console, the refreshed New Nintendo 2DS XL handheld, and a strategy for mobile gaming. Microsoft also released the higher-powered Xbox One X targeted for 4K resolutions and virtual reality support.
The Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) is an annual Rocket League Esports tournament series produced by Psyonix, the game's developer. It consists of qualification splits in North America, South America, Europe, Oceania, Middle East/North Africa, Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa, and culminates in a playoff bracket with teams from those regions. The qualification rounds are played as an online round-robin tournament and the finals are played live in different cities. The Season 9 championship in 2020 and the Season X championship in 2021 were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with region-based championships in their places.
In the video game industry, 2020 saw the launch of the next generation of video game consoles, with both Microsoft and Sony Interactive Entertainment having released the Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 consoles, respectively, in November 2020. The industry was heavily affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic which had begun in March and kept most people in lockdowns and working from home. While this caused numerous delays in software and hardware releases and the cancellation of live conferences and events in favor of virtual shows, it also created a boon for the industry as people turned to gaming as a means to pass the time. The industry also reacted to various policital/cultural events.
The 2020 international cricket season took place from May to September 2020. 15 Test matches, 49 One Day Internationals (ODIs) and 40 Twenty20 International (T20Is) were scheduled to be played during this period, as well as 8 Women's One Day Internationals (WODIs) and 9 Women's Twenty20 Internationals (WT20Is). Additionally, a number of other T20I/WT20I matches were also scheduled to be played in minor series involving associate nations. The season started with Australia leading the Test cricket rankings, England leading the ODI rankings and Australia leading the Twenty20 rankings.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a 2020 social simulation game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch; it is the fifth main entry in the Animal Crossing series. In New Horizons, the player controls a character who moves to a deserted island after purchasing a getaway package from Tom Nook, playing the game in a nonlinear fashion and developing the island as they choose. They can gather and craft items, customize the island, and develop it into a community of anthropomorphic animals.
The 2020 UCI World Tour was a series of races that was scheduled to include thirty-six road cycling events throughout the 2020 cycling season. However, some of races were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The tour started with the opening stage of the Tour Down Under on 21 January, and concluded with the final stage of the Vuelta a España on 8 November.
In the video game industry, 2021 is expected to see the release of many new video games. The numerous delays in software and hardware releases due to the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic heavily impacted development schedules, leading to many games being delayed into this year or indefinitely. Additionally, computer and console hardware was impacted by the combined effects of semiconductor shortage and a rising growth of bitcoin mining that strained the supply of critical components.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a substantial impact on the film industry in 2020 and 2021, mirroring its impacts across all arts sectors. Across the world and to varying degrees, cinemas and movie theaters have been closed, festivals have been cancelled or postponed, and film releases have been moved to future dates or delayed indefinitely. Due to cinemas and movie theaters closing, the global box office has dropped by billions of dollars, streaming has seen a significant increase in popularity and the stock of film exhibitors has also dropped dramatically. Many blockbusters originally scheduled to be released since mid-March 2020 have been postponed or canceled around the world, with film productions also halted. This, in turn, has created openings for independent cinema productions to receive wider exposure.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the most significant disruption to the worldwide sporting calendar since World War II. Across the world and to varying degrees, sports events have been cancelled or postponed. The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo were rescheduled to 2021. Spectators have no games to watch and players no games to play. Only a few countries and territories, such as Hong Kong, Turkmenistan, Belarus, and Nicaragua, have continued professional sporting matches as planned.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a substantial impact on the television industry, mirroring its impacts across all arts sectors, shutting down or delaying production of television programs in many countries with consequent negative impacts on revenues and employment.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the music industry, mirroring its impacts across all arts sectors. Numerous music events, including music festivals, concert tours, and award shows, have been cancelled or postponed. While some musicians and composers were able to use the time to create new works, there were flow-on effects on the many supporting people who relied on performers for their income. Various album releases have been delayed as well. Pollstar estimated the total lost revenue for the live music industry in 2020 at more than $30 billion.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a substantial impact on the television industry in March 2020, particularly in the United States, mirroring its impacts across all arts sectors.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the conduct of sports in the Philippines affecting both competitive sports leagues and tournaments and recreational sports.
In the video game industry, 2022 is expected to see the release of many new video games. The numerous delays in software and hardware releases due to the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic has heavily impacted development schedules, leading to many games being delayed into this year or indefinitely.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption to cricket across the world, mirroring its impact across all sports. Across the world and to varying degrees, leagues and competitions have been cancelled or postponed.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption to motorsport across the world, mirroring its impact across all sports. Across the world and to varying degrees, events and competitions have been cancelled or postponed.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a deep impact on the Canadian economy, leading it into a recession. The governments' social distancing rules had the effect of limiting economic activity in the country. Companies started considering mass-layoffs of workers, which was largely prevented by the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. But despite these efforts, Canada's unemployment rate was 13.5% in May 2020, the highest it has been since 1976.
Cases of COVID-19 at the 2020 Summer Olympics and the 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan, are part of a cluster of SARS-CoV-2 infections within the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan that began in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Village in July 2021, prior to the Opening Ceremony of the 2020 Summer Olympics on 23 July 2021. The Olympics ended on 8 August 2021 before the Opening Ceremony of the 2020 Summer Paralympics started on 24 August 2021. The Paralympics ended on 5 September 2021 before the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China started a few months later.
Like so many of us, I'm stuck at home waiting out a pandemic.