COVID-19 roundup: How the pandemic has affected game devs, GameStop’s flip-flopping on mask wearing policy

Oh, great.

Hey, it’s been some time since we’ve done one of these roundup stories about the novel coronavirus’ effect on gaming, and since there are a couple of news pieces that fit into the bundle, it’s about time we revisit this format for a moment to share some information with you fine folks.

We begin with some survey data shared by Informa Tech, the organizers of the Game Developers’ Conference (GDC). The data features results from 2,500 game devs asking how things are different for them as the pandemic continues to roll through the US. 34% said they saw business decline, 37% said it remained about the same, and 31% said they saw business increase. Tangentially, less than 10% of developers have been laid off or furloughed due to COVID-19, while 26% of respondents said that their household income has fallen due to the pandemic.

The effects of working from home have been felt by responding devs on a variety of levels as well: Nearly half of those working from home feel that their productivity has lowered, and a third of developers said they’ve experienced a decrease in creativity while working from home, even as the amount of hours worked has increased for nearly half of all respondents. The complete report can be downloaded for those who want the full data set.

Lastly, we wrap up with more GameStop mismanagement, as the brick-and-mortar games store is now requiring customers to wear a mask starting on July 27th while also ordering employees to not enforce the requirement; an internal memo has stated that employees should offer a complimentary mask or offer alternate methods of service if someone arrives without a mask, but if the customer continues to be resistant, then employees should “calmly ask the customer what you can assist them with and complete their transaction as quickly as possible.” Which should sound like a familiar cadence to anyone who’s worked in retail or the service industry.

A representative for GameStop has told Kotaku that the guidelines are in place as a means to protect employees, particularly as there have been incidents were retail workers were attacked or killed by those who refuse to wear a mask.

More on the impact of the virus on gaming:

sources: GDC/Informa Tech press release,, Kotaku
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