COVID-19 roundup: Game spending shoots up, Stadia Pro goes free, and GDC tries again


Let’s catch up on all of the craziness about how COVID-19 is impacting the world of gaming. It turns out that being locked inside your house for weeks upon end is a very good way to drive up sales of video games. Who would have thought? Nielsen Games published a report showing that 39% of American gamers are pumping more money into their hobby lately. That checks out; I just bought Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for my kids to get a few minutes of respite.

Here’s one thing you won’t have to spend money on to enjoy, however: Google is making Stadia Pro free for the next two months in response to the crisis. All you need to access the cloud-based gaming platform is a Gmail address, and you’ll be able to enjoy Destiny 2 among other titles. Stadia is going to reduce its default settings for the time being to help with the increased load on its services, however.

Plans for a physical GDC later this year are progressing and registrations are open. The Game Developers Conference rescheduled from this spring to August 4th through 6th, although the organizers are leaving some wiggle room in case of further delays: “If the organizers of GDC Summer are forced to cancel the event, current paid registrants may request a full refund, minus only credit card processing fees. There will be no cancellation fee in the event that GDC Summer must officially be canceled.”

In other COVID-19 gaming news, Old School RuneScape and Jagex are supporting mental health initiatives during this trying time, a supply chain hiccup has led to the temporary cessation of Nintendo Switch deliveries to Japan, and one computer company has gone from making gaming machines to much-needed ventilators.

More on the impact of the virus on gaming:


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My girlfriend, who hasn’t owned a console since the PS2 was current, now has a Switch Lite (and, of course, Animal Crossing); I know of 4 other couples within my online friend group that have also acquired a second Switch. The stats of higher spending on gaming don’t surprise me in the least.


Hmm…. So about Stadia. I appreciate that Pro went free, as it should be anyway, but that reduction in “default settings” because of increased traffic? KekW!!

Listen, nobody is buying that. There was very little traffic to begin with. And Stadia is not getting a huge deluge of players due to Covid-19.

So, thanks for the lax requirements. Hiding your platforms problems under the guise of giving back won’t work.

Rodrigo Dias Costa

To be fair, they only changed the default config from 4K to 1080p. You can still put it back on max setting if you wish. From the linked Gamasutra article:

There won’t be any strict limit imposed on streaming resolution, however; those unhappy with the slight downgrade are able to bump their resolution back up to 4K as long as their network speed supports it.

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I’ve found some not often published things lately. In keeping up with this new tradition of giving health/excercise subscriptions away – Just Dance 2020 is giving away their subscription indefinitely. If you already have a sub (guilty) they will tack on the xtra time when they go back to doing it normally.

I like the fact everyone is getting in shape and the world is healing itself without humans mucking everything up. A box turtle came up our driveway two days ago. A box turtle in a major metro area is something that just started happening. Pretty sure the world is much better off without us. In the meantime…DANCE!