COVID-19 roundup: Brick-and-mortar game store stupidity, ‘reimagined’ E3 2021, and Twitch’s new record


We’re back once again with some more novel coronavirus news stories all bundled up for you in one place, and friends, we’re going to start with a facepalm-worthy pair of stories regarding some physical game stores. Strap in and hang tight.

We’ll start with Game X Change, which issued a staff email full of patently inaccurate advice to keep employees “safe” from infection such as gargling vinegar, sipping on warm water every 20 minutes to wash the virus into the stomach to be destroyed by gastric juices, avoiding cold food or drink, or hanging clothes in sunlight to kill any virus on the fabric. Furthermore, Game X Change owner Grant Wetherill responded to an anonymous email from an employee beseeching the store to reconsider its business practices with flagrant ignorance:

“I can tell whoever you are that I spend lots of time in my stores. Even though I have Parkinson’s Disease and Asthma. Plus I’m 56 years old. So don’t lecture me on risk. I’m here if you want to be an adult and talk to me.”

Speaking of flagrant ignorance, a GameStop in Dorchester, Massachusetts, refused to close its doors after the state mandated all GameStop stores be shut down temporarily. The store in question received the order this past Tuesday but stayed open the following Wednesday, earning it a nuisance citation but no fine. GameStop confirmed that by the Thursday of that week, all stores in the state were shut down despite the company considering itself an essential business.

The coronavirus continues to have an impact of events around the globe, with the San Diego Comic Con pondering its fate and a Finnish hockey esports league inviting Finnish hockey players to join in its NHL 20 playoffs. The ESA has also promised a “reimagined” E3 for 2021, though no specifics on just what that involves were provided. If you prefer in-game events, Wurm Online has you covered with 8,000 Loyalty Marks and an exclusive ancient large chest skin for premium players and a 10% bonus to skill gain and affinity chance for all players.

On the subject of real-world impacts, COVID-19 could see Amazon’s upcoming cloud-based gaming platform release pushed back into 2021 due to unspecified disruptions, while Xbox boss Phil Spencer digging his heels in against the idea of a staggered release for the Xbox Series X, saying that doing so would “hurt” the console. Readers will recall that Spencer promised the new Xbox would make its intended street date.

Finally, all the time indoors is seeing many digital platforms blow up, but one of the biggest gains has been experienced by Twitch, which saw over 3 billion hours watched on the platform this past quarter, up 17% from last quarter. YouTube and Facebook Gaming also saw increased traffic, but Microsoft’s Mixer platform continued its own downward trend.

More on the impact of the virus on gaming:

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