The Daily Grind: Do you expect any (other) MMOs to be delayed over the pandemic?

    
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Mushrooms.

With so many MMO studios working-from-home, it seems delays might be inevitable. In fact, we’ve already seen a few; Blue Protocol, for example, delayed almost a month ahead of its beta, though it’s back on track now. When I initially wrote this post, neither New World nor Elder Scrolls Online’s Greymoor hadn’t delayed yet, but just in the last few days, both have done so (requiring hasty rewrites of this post!). Plus, just this morning, FFXIV announced it was delaying its next patch too.

Now I’m worried about other titles. World of Warcraft’s Shadowlands was expected this fall-ish. We were expecting Magic Legends’ beta this spring too. I’m betting at least one of those gets pushed off, though for some of the games with fluffy dates, we may never actually know.

Do you expect any other MMOs to be delayed over the pandemic?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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AmittaiD
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AmittaiD

Personally, I’m kind of hoping that Shadowlands is delayed; the extra time to hopefully listen to and act on feedback may would go a long way in preventing another BfA situation.

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Schmidt.Capela

Depends on whether the company already had work-from-home policies and protocols in place, and how robust they are.

Keep in mind that work-from-home faces some interesting challenges when you have a need for secrecy and security (like when working on future games or content that you don’t want leaked), as well as issues with licensing, integrating external PCs into the content pipeline, etc. All of those can be solved, but it takes time — and if the company never made a real effort to allow working from home before, it likely needs to start from scratch.

Also, there’s a big issue in that for the time being previous research on consumer behavior doesn’t fully apply, meaning that companies who move around release dates to maximize profit will need to be more cautious, potentially leading to some strategical delays.

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Tim Anderson

No delays for us. But we’ve been remote since the start so it’s been business as usual for us.

In fact, we’ve not only remained on course, but we brought on three new investors in March, signed two major contracts in the first part of April (an investment firm + an international marketing deal), and we literally just hired two new full-time team members this week (artist + programmer) on top of being full-steam ahead with Stage Three alpha.

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Rheem Octuris

I would like to bring up another facet of this and remind everyone that developers are rarely on time to begin with as they’re not usually the ones to set their own timelines unless they are an indie studio. So on top of the actual delays I think this will be an excuse to extend timelines to a more realistic length. Which should hopefully mean more polished games / content in the long run.

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Toy Clown

I would be worried if there weren’t delays, as it shows a team is led by folks who aren’t necessarily putting their workers first. This is a time when others should be taking care and valuing the lives of those they work with over making money.

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Arktouros

I expect a lot of delays all around not only from a transition for people to work remotely and adapting to that lifestyle change but more importantly as there starts to be a huge economic impact that funding for entertainment products could also start to dry up. I imagine crowd funded gaming related (patron, paypal donations, kickstarters, etc) projects will probably be hit the hardest.

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Motherball

I’d be surprised. This wave of folks stuck at home playing games won’t last long. Best to get in while its still in effect, imo. If your launch is already far away, then yes, I could see covid having a development delay effect.

The Weeb formerly known as Sray
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The Weeb formerly known as Sray

I expect virtually everything for the next six months will be delayed. While a lot of developers are still working from home, there are limits to what can be done on common home computers, and decentralizing the workplace can also slow things down a lot.

However, the big delay I expect are the new consoles, which will screw up everything other than PC only content for close to a year. I know Microsoft and Sony keep saying “Holiday 2020 launch” but realistically I don’t see a full launch happening when we’ve already lost months of production in China. Sure, they’ll both launch an extremely limited edition version in late October/early November because they’ll have to both to say they didn’t lie to stockholders and because many partner publishers will have product ready at that point that needs to launch. They’ll each ship maybe a million units, which is a far cry short of what they’ll actually need to as the expectation is that this coming generation was supposed to be the most rapidly adopted console generation ever. We won’t really see these new consoles shipping in volume until probably this time next year, and as a result publishers will push back more launches in order to wait for the install base to expand. And that will have all sorts of delays for many MMOs, particularly games like FFXIV and ESO.

laelgon
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laelgon

The holiday season is also going to be financially tight for a lot more people this year, with so many being out of work for months. That’s going to have a big impact on sales as well.

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BalsBigBrother

All of them I expect to one degree or another and some of them might actually be legit too. Some not so much *coughs in elbow* New World *coughs into elbow*

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Dagget Burmese

Yoshi put out a letter today saying FFXIV patch 5.3 would be 2-4 weeks late