COVID-19 is still very much a thing in most of our staff’s and readers’ lives, and it’s still very much impacting the games industry.
A month ago, we wrote about the peril in which the UK’s National Videogame Museum – itself a charity – had found itself thanks to COVID. Fortunately, a large group of UK games companies, including Rockstar and Jagex, have chipped in to keep it going at least through July, when hopefully it can open again. “We are so grateful to some of our finest games companies and industry leaders for helping us in our hour of need,” museum chair Ian Livingstone wrote. “With no end to the lockdown in sight and without significant public funding, every donation gets us closer to securing our future in these uncertain times.”
Blizzard has understandably bumped the Mythic Dungeon International Battle for Azeroth finals to an online-only event rather than an in-person LAN as initially planned.
— World of Warcraft (@Warcraft) April 29, 2020
Having trouble getting the attention of Guild Wars 2’s support team? It could be the combination of a huge population boost from quarantines, tons of people headed back to the game for the freebies, and zillions more trying to remember their old Guild Wars account info thanks to the 15th anniversary content just added over there. “We’re experiencing very high support ticket volumes right now, and a high percentage of those tickets are related to account access issues,” ArenaNet writes. “While our Customer Support team is working through the queue as quickly as they can, wait times are longer than normal.”
EGX Rezzed 2020 has now sadly been canceled outright. It was initially meant to run in London last March but was delayed to July. Now, Gamer Network and Reed Pop have announced it will cancel the 2020 run and bring it back in 2021. “After extensive discussions with all the relevant public health, local and national authorities, and with our Rezzed partners, we have taken the decision not to go ahead with this year’s event,” reps write.
Square-Enix is expanding its Stay Home and Play campaign with new stuff.
“We kicked off our campaign by giving away Tomb Raider (2013) and Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris for free on Steam. Since then, we have continued to share other new free titles and to date, gamers have downloaded nearly 15 million copies of our games! But we’re not stopping there. We promise to create more opportunities to download games from our portfolio, and only ask one thing in return – please continue to stay home and play, stay safe, and follow your local guidelines. In addition to offering more free games, our Stay Home and Play campaign will expand to include more opportunities to come together and support one another during this time. Through a partnership with TikTok, our games will be shared as a part of their Small Gestures program. We will also be introducing Stay Home and Play Steam bundles offering deep discounts on great games from our library with 100% of Square Enix proceeds benefitting Food Banks and other charities in North America and Europe. Finally, we will partner with UKIE and other organisations to provide gifts of games to show our appreciation for the healthcare workers fighting the pandemic on the front lines.”
Finally, it’s not an MMO, but a polish studio announced that it’s launching COVID: The Outbreak on Steam in May. It’s “a real-time strategy game in which you play the role of a global organization that has to deal with a global pandemic” – you’ll “issue decrees, manage resources, develop projects, and construct buildings.” Oh, and 20% of the game’s Steam sale proceeds go straight to charities battling the pandemic.
More on the impact of the virus on gaming: