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

    
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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, GamesIndustry.biz, Kotaku
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Ashfyn Ninegold

First, if the super spreader is not wearing a mask and you are, your chances are high (about 70% I’ve heard) they can infect you. If you are both wearing a mask, the chances go way, way down, to less than 2% or so. So the idjits who think they are healthy and don’t have it so don’t need a mask are the ones spreading it about to all the other people who are trying to be cautious. Stay far away from anyone who says they’re too healthy to get it and don’t need to wear a mask because at this point in America the chances are good that they are an asymptomatic super spreader.

Second, people who are adamant about not wearing protection are crazy. It’s like you’ve said their child was ugly or their favorite team sucked. They are furious and many are itching to show just how furious. Theirs is not a normal reaction but some kind of hysteria bordering on a psychotic break with reality.

Third, in most states employees are covered by some kind of workers’ compensation. If they are injured on the job, then their employer is on the hook for medical expenses, compensation if they can’t work, or death payout. If varies hugely from state to state, but regardless, in telling their employees not to engage they are protecting their employees while protecting themselves from the costs associated with employees being injured on the job by one of these hystericals.

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Schmidt.Capela

If varies hugely from state to state, but regardless, in telling their employees not to engage they are protecting their employees while protecting themselves from the costs associated with employees being injured on the job by one of these hystericals.

Ironically, by making it a policy of serving customers who refuse to wear masks they are putting their employees at an increased risk of being infected, which might allow those that do catch COVID-19 while working to sue Gamestop. Now, granted, such a lawsuit would be a long shot, but it would have a far larger chance of success than one against any of the stores that implemented the so-called “No shoes, No Shirt, No Mask, No Service” policy.

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Bruno Brito

The biggest issue is that

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.

This is actually a fucking good excuse. And there’s nothing that pisses me off more when assholes give soulless corps the capability of protecting themselves from criticism while sacking their own rank-and-file.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

...

majoras mask mask.png
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Schmidt.Capela

Well, the only thing missing in 2020 is the moon falling on our heads ;-)

EmberStar
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EmberStar

To paraphrase Curly from “City Slickers”… “Year ain’t over yet.”

Leo
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Leo

are they even going to supply the stores with these ‘complimentary masks’ or is it again up to the store to take care of this?

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Utakata

One thing this pandemic has taught me is how to remove GameStop as the middle person. And how…

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McGuffn

they only want tantrums over the returns policy, thank you very much.

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Armsman

Brick and mortar GameStops still exist? I thought they had pretty much died off long before this whole covid-19 situation hit?

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

Not for long at this rate if they can’t keep employees or guests safe!

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zoward

At the beginning of the COVID-19 closures, they drew a lot of flak in the press for declaring themselves an “essential business” – because “people need video games to be entertained while stuck at home”. A few days later, the day after everyone came in to pick up their pre-orders for Animal Crossing and Doom Eternal, two highly anticipated titles which dropped on the same day – they closed “for the safety of their staff and customers”. They made it pretty clear where their priorities lay.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

Yep, we covered those messes too. Gamestop hasn’t made any friends this year.

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Jeremy Barnes

They were attempting to undergo a transformation to some sort of ‘gathering spot’ for hanging out/tournaments/etc and selling food/drinks along with video games.