Recently, Nintendo released a new Direct Mini that highlighted some upcoming games on the Switch and updates of existing titles. You can catch our full report on what was announced here. This Direct Mini sure kept true to its name as they sure only delivered a small sampling of information of what 2020 looks like for the hybrid console. One could say that they’re saving their big announcements for E3, but with the state of the world, it seems unlikely. However, this image from Nintendo on COVID-19 is concerning:
The world is facing a pandemic that’s ravaging several nations and causing all sorts of disruptions in every sector of business. The game industry is no different, and I can’t help but think that most companies will put on a brave face for the moment but push back several titles. Let’s look at some factors that keep popping up in online discourses and what is the likely hood of those things happening.
Next-Gen Consoles Being Delayed
This is the year for Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Sony’s Playstation 5 to once again compete for market share. Xbox One began with a catastrophic launch with features that were advertised as anti-consumer(even though they’re common now) against PS4’s simple message of being a gaming box only. Microsoft is leaning on customer-focused initiatives such as Xbox Anywhere and Xbox’s Game Pass being the leading factors for pushing a powerful gaming console. While PS5 is relying on impressive chip architecture for fast loading and a catalog of stellar first-party games. With COVID-19 still present in China but also on the downturn, Gamestop’s CEO said that Next Gen consoles would not be delayed for the upcoming holiday season. However, this is the same retailer that is almost at death’s door, considering they tried to keep stores open event despite government-wide quarantines for non-essential businesses.
I’m sorry, but the word from a CEO from a failing retailer that may not last past the summer isn’t a trusted source. Gamestop is doing everything they can to stay afloat, and if the consoles are going to be delayed, they would never say it. The Washington Post interviewed several tech analysts about the state of electronic manufacturers in China.
“Everyone is panicked,” said Rui Zhang, general manager at Lorom, which makes cords and is listed as a top supplier to Microsoft. “I don’t even know who has the time to forecast or look at the next four or five months.”
Again, COVID-19’s effects on the global economy aren’t going to be fully understood until months afterward. While I doubt that Next Gen consoles would be delayed, I wouldn’t doubt that supply will be short considering that Nintendo already announced a shortage of Switch system, according to Bloomberg.
Halo Infinite and The Last of US 2 Delayed?
Online rumors keep swirling that Halo: Infinite is going to miss its console launch date release due to the effects of COVID-19. 343 Studios recently posted a blog post about how COVID-19 is affecting game development and the measures they have taken to ensure a successful launch. They mentioned that:
“We’re removing all the obstacles in our path and tracking well, but need to be mindful of our current limitations and understand that the coronavirus situation may get worse before it gets better,” 343 said in the post. “Rest assured that every single one of us is doing everything in our power to continue developing and delivering quality Halo experiences while we adjust to this new way of life.”
Working from home isn’t a simple aspect when you consider that many families are under quarantine and that there will be a slow down in production and development due to the nature of having to communicate online instead of working at the office. However, working at home could have an adverse beneficial effect too! This report mentions that “researchers found that working from home not only benefits employees by eliminating their daily commutes, it also increases productivity and leads to healthier lifestyles…It’s a win-win situation that workers relish for its flexibility – but often at the cost of their work-life balance.” We know 343 Studios is hard at work, making sure that Halo doesn’t miss its deadline, but this can’t be true of every company. In a couple of months, we’ll most likely start seeing which games were delayed because of COVID-19 on companies that didn’t transition well to a work-at-home.
Not A Good Time?
The Last Of Us 2 is done and is going through its last stages of development, such as polishing and bug fixes, but people are concerned that a game about a “pandemic ravaged society” might not be the right time. The Hunt, a movie about gun violence, was delayed before COVID-19 because of recent shootings in America. People who love video games won’t care, but it only takes a couple of media outlets for the mainstream to demonize a piece of art. Currently, there is no concrete evidence of this game delayed in any kind of way, but strange times can create panic and delayed releases.
Will we see more delays, or will COVID-19’s not affect the game industry? Let us know in the comments below! Don’t forget to check out my review of Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection. For more great interviews, reviews, editorials, and news, stay tuned to CultureOfGaming.com or check us out on OpenCritic.com.