We’ve previously noted how some MMOs and MMO-adjacent titles, from EVE Echoes to Path of Exile, had seen delays and setbacks thanks to the spread of the coronavirus, but this might be one of the bigger ones: Bandai Namco has delayed Blue Protocol’s closed beta in Japan, which presumably will delay its beta for everyone elsewhere too.
“The Blue Protocol operation team is working to prevent the spread of the new type of coronavirus infection and considering safety as the top priority,” reads Google’s translation of the official Japanese message, noting that “preparation and development are expected to be delayed.” The closed beta appears to have been moved from late March to mid-April at best, though the team warns it may change the schedule again based on the outbreak’s course by then. “We will inform you about the situation again in late March.”
In other coronavirus news, the ESA has issued yet another statement insisting that E3 is still on in spite of the fact that LA county has now declared a state of emergency over the virus. SXSW has also not yet canceled, in spite of major tech giants pulling out and a petition urging cancellation. Contrast these moves with one state threatening legal action if (non-tech) conventions aren’t closed down. Meanwhile, Seattle- and San Francisco-based tech companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft have instructed employees to work from home as the global case count for the virus nears 100,000.
More on the impact of the virus on gaming: