Welcome back to another quick roundup of pandemic-related MMO and gaming news. We’ll start with the big one: The World Health Organization, which made gaming headlines the last few years for its widely panned “gaming addiction” designation, is now supporting the gaming industry’s #PlayApartTogether campaign encouraging people to, among other things, stay home and game during the pandemic. Here’s the Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus:
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) March 28, 2020
Some big companies have backed the campaign, including Activision Blizzard, Twitch, Unity, Riot, and YouTube.
“Today, the global and far-reaching games industry agreed to disseminate key messages from the World Health Organization to help slow the spread of COVID-19. To promote these messages, 18 game industry leaders in the interactive entertainment space have launched #PlayApartTogether, an initiative that encourages their vast network of users to follow the WHO’s health guidelines—including physical distancing, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and other powerful preventive actions people can take to fight COVID-19. By bringing special events, exclusives, activities, rewards and inspiration to some of the most popular games in the world, #PlayApartTogether encourages users to adopt best practices for the sake of their own health and that of their families and communities. By incorporating COVID-19 self-protection messages into games, the industry is telling the world: ‘Wherever you are, whatever game you play, you can make a difference.'”
But hey, don’t worry; there’s always someone (one specific someone) ready with a shabby paper ready to crap on screentime again when this is done!
As we reported last week, Twitch ran Twitch Aid 2020 this past weekend, bringing together gaming streamers and musicians and other artists and celebrities – everyone from Garth Brooks to Barry Gibb, what – to raise money for the fight against COVID-19. Viewers raised over $2.7M for the cause. Nicely done, folks.
Thank you to everyone who helped #TwitchStreamAid raise $2,766,857.12 and counting for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO powered by the United Nations Foundation.
— Twitch (@Twitch) March 29, 2020
Blade & Soul has kicked off a series of events and promotions specifically tailored for “people around the world undergoing social distancing and staying inside.” NCsoft is giving out a free seven-day premium membership coin, a second one for 1 NCoin, bonus daily challenge rewards, a triple battle points bonus, extra login rewards, and more goodies.
Occupy White Walls, still in the midst of its Kickstarter campaign, has opened a social distancing contest. Not kidding! The contest, running through April 21st, asks players to “create a mosaic to the theme of ‘social distancing.’ The Stikipixels [devs] will shortlist several entries based on originality artist flair and overall ‘wow factor’.” Prizes include the game’s soundtrack DLC, free cubes, and a spot in the game’s hall of fame gallery.
Good news if you were still hoping to get a PlayStation 5 when it launches later this year: Sony says it “doesn’t see a notable impact” on the rollout planned, in spite of slowed factory production and resource shortages in China, Malaysia, and the UK.
Games Done Quick has delayed Summer Games Done Quick 2020 to to August 16-23, 2020. It’ll still be held in Bloomington, Minnesota, but volunteers and game submissions to date will be wiped, and you’ll need to resubmit or revoluntter. An online charity marathon, Corona Relief Done Quick, will run in mid-April.
Finally, we reported over the weekend the good news that Final Fantasy XIV has temporarily suspended automatic housing demolition while the pandemic has pulled many players away from the game.
COVID-19’s impact just in MOP’s HQ state of Pennsylvania is now about as bad as it was in Wuhan in January when we first started reporting on esports venue closures across China, and the outlook for the USA as a whole is far grimmer. Please be careful out there.
More on the impact of the virus on gaming: