COVID-19 gaming impact roundup: Studios working from home, War Thunder as an Army training tool


The global novel coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the gaming industry – here’s the latest.

Warhammer Online fans will remember well the name Carrie Gouskos, though apparently last year she left EA for Bungie, where she now works on Destiny as the senior development director. GIbiz has a detailed interview with her all about Bungie’s work-from-home situation, admitting it’s not been an entirely easy-breezy transition. While apparently security systems were easy to reconcile, overworking and crunching from home has been a particular sore spot. “I do genuinely believe that creative collaboration is better when you’re able to be face-to-face,” she says. “If it went on for a while, I think we’re in fairly good shape, but things still come up every day.”

Did you ever think of War Thunder as a military tool? Apparently, the US Army has been using the game for training events while under quarantine. “A typical session will start with a brief from the section leader or platoon leader followed by rehearsals,” the Army post says. “It will also include required readings from training manuals. The crews then will meet up online and execute the training for that day. Following the training they will conduct an after action review to discuss lessons learned and ways to improve.”

VentureBeat has a new piece up on a charity collab between IGDA, Take This, the Global Game Jam, and the Games and Online Harassment Hotline. The four groups have proposed the Stay in the Game Relief Fund, which is specifically meant to raise funding for gaming-related nonprofits in the wake of the pandemic. Here’s part of the statement:

“As non-profits, we rely on community support and good corporate partners to run initiatives benefiting developers, freelancers and gamers all over the world. We hope this fundraiser provides some relief in operational support so we can continue our work by reinventing our programs for success in virtual spaces. There’s no telling when life will get back to a ‘normal’ cadence. We support people’s health as a first priority, so our respective missions – which are more important than ever, as the isolation necessary to weather this pandemic makes things even harder for our communities – need to be tackled in new ways for the forseeable future. To help us achieve these goals, we aim to collectively raise $100,000 to be split evenly among the four organizations. We’ve learned so much by working together in such a short amount of time. I’m incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such brilliant and talented leaders in the video game space to find ways to pivot or identify new methods to support our communities in this time of crisis.”

As we near graduation season, such events are moving online for the protection of teachers and students. Apparently, one Utah University professor and his class used Improbable’s SpatialOS tool along with Unreal to build out a virtual “graduation studio.” Much more fun than the Zoom receptions I’ve seen!

Finally, Nintendo posted its quarterly financials, and like many companies, its tempering its outlook with concerns about the virus and economy. While its revenues were up significantly and games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons sold like mad – 11.77M sales in its first 11 days of life – Nintendo nevertheless expressed worry over production and shipping delays, supply chain issues, retail store opening, and the recession.

Please stay safe folks, wherever you are in the world.

More on the impact of the virus on gaming:


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