As the coronavirus has now passed 100,000 cases worldwide, more than just gaming conventions are angling to make sure they aren’t among the list of disease vectors.
Last night, for example, Destiny 2 studio Bungie announced that it is now encouraging its staff to work from home to avoid the risks of gathering. Bungie’s core location is in Seattle, near the home of the largest outbreak in the US. The goal, the studio says, is to keep everyone healthy – and the next season on track.
“Today, we have activated this fully remote work infrastructure and policy for all Bungie employees across the globe, with the goals of prioritizing the safety of our employees and continuing to develop and deliver on a game we love for our community. To accompany this policy we have rolled out technical solutions for all employees to be able to maintain communication with one another, as well as to continue working on development and maintaining game-critical functions while working remotely. Our goal is to continue crafting the ever-evolving Destiny universe, while making those behind-the-scenes efforts to keep everything running smoothly invisible to our fans. While there is a possibility that this change could affect our patching cadence in the short term, we will be sure to keep players informed about those schedules as much as possible. Most immediately, we will still be launching Season of the Worthy on March 10, followed by the start of Trials of Osiris on March 13.”
Expect more studios to take this approach. Take-Two’s Strauss Zelnick apparently said as much at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference yesterday. Though he initially downplayed the impact on business, he did concede that remote work might become a reality long-term as a result of the virus.
“I think one of the things that may come out of this if it’s as widespread as I believe it will be, one unexpected consequence is a lot of us who were skeptical about remote work are going to be less skeptical about it,” he said. “I’m one of them by the way. I’m not a big believer in remote work. But I think I may be surprised. I think you are going to see a significant change, maybe a long-lasting change, in business travel.”
E3 has thus far still not been called off because of the virus, in spite of the cancellation of many other gaming events. But yesterday, the company in charge of the convention’s creative direction resigned. Seems like kind of a bad sign?
It’s with mixed emotions that @iam8bit has decided to resign as Creative Directors of what was to be an evolutionary #E32020 floor experience. We’ve produced hundreds of gaming + community events and it was a dream to be involved with E3. We wish the organizers the best of luck.
— iam8bit (@iam8bit) March 5, 2020
TwitchCon Amsterdam, meanwhile, became the latest gaming con to close up shop.
— TwitchCon (@TwitchCon) March 6, 2020
If you’re feeling anxious about the virus, it’s understandable – but probably a waste of your time, so turn that energy into making sure you’re doing the basics (like washing your hands and not taking undo risks). That’s the takeaway from both a piece on Kotaku and a retweet from MMO legend Raph Koster.
— Raph Koster (@raphkoster) March 6, 2020
More on the impact of the virus on gaming: