Thu Mar 19th / Marina
WELCOME TO THE CORONAVIRUS EFFECT!
This article aims to express some thoughts about the impact of Coronavirus on the gaming environment. The author, Marina Ribeiro, is a Marketing Executive at All-in Global.
The impact of the Coronavirus has globally affected a great deal of households and businesses, and my heart is with everyone struggling with it. But in these hard-hitting weeks when we’re exposed to so much negativity from the media, I’d like to share some positive things we can hold onto to overcome this predicament.
Why Coronavirus can affect the online gaming industry in a “positive” way? It’s obvious: people stay home and play!
I think there’s a chance for Coronavirus’ impact on the gaming industry to not be just temporary. The deep effects of this virus might only be properly documented in a few years. Why? All the fear and hysteria created by this new strange virus is making world governments to take exceptional measures, including obligatory remote work.
At All-in Global, we’re taking this threat seriously, and our staff works from home these days. I consider us lucky since our business model is well equipped to handle this situation as all our operations are online. Our company has always been promoting a flexible digital work culture, and working remotely is not new for us. Hopefully, this virus will have a positive impact on work environments ethics and will make other companies to think more openly about remote work when this situation ends.
While some will spend their unexpected free time with no clue of what to do, others will surely embark on online gaming adventures. This virus is undeniably sad news for the vast majority of industries out there, but is good news for online gaming: more players glued to their screens and devices, more revenue and more exposure.
Online Casinos Boom
Following the World Health Organization precaution measures, casinos around the world are being closed to protect their players and personnel. Consequently, online casinos are looking very attractive right now causing huge spikes of online players. In my opinion, this event may be the starting point for serious reflection by those who up until now kept building anti-online gaming policies. Will this virus rush the opening of new markets to online gaming? The future will tell us.
Fortunately, we’re also witnessing the heart-warming philanthropy of some industry corporations that despite the huge opportunity to increase revenues in this sad moment are creating campaigns to help those who are being impacted by the virus. For example, a game called Nishuihan that’s usually billed by a monthly subscription is now free-to-play during the epidemic period to encourage people to hold on and combat the stress of forced indoor activities. In China, some gaming corporations are even utilizing the extra revenue to make donations to help the Chinese government fight the virus.
At All-in Global, we also believe that it is part of our social responsibility to help as much as possible in times like this. Following this ethos, we’re offering free translations services to Maltese and Portuguese government and health institutions to support their effort in communicating efficiently the COVID-19 precautions.
The Coronavirus Darkside impact
While the virus is increasing the percentage of active online players, it also generates a less positive impact on the industry:
- Gaming events canceled or postponed:
E3, the annual game convention in LA, announced the cancelation of the event. Entertainment Software Association announced that they are exploring the possibility to create an online E3 event for this summer. Other trade shows like PAX Eats, GDC, Twitch Con and iGaming events like BOSA, ASEAN Gaming Summit, Casino Beats Malta and Siege of Malta poker tournament are postponing their events to follow World Health Organization precautions. During the next days, it’s expected that similar event cancelations will keep occurring.
- New hardware announcements delay:
Although neither Microsoft nor Sony communicated anything official about delays for the new PS5 and Xbox Series X, fans that are expecting to have them available in the summer of 2020 are already speculating that the current virus situation in China can have an impact on the production of the consoles.
Nintendo confirmed that the so eagerly awaited Animal Crossing-themed Nintendo Switch is suffering delays because the majority of production is also based in China.
- Esports events in risk:
Esports live events are also being canceled due to the obvious risks carried by mass gatherings. Fortunately, very few competitions are at risk because esports can still be played and streamed online.
As an esports enthusiast, I’m hoping that this situation leads some of the traditional sports to get inspired by esports and explore some alternatives to intelligently adapt their activities.
- Sports Betting:
Sport Betting websites and platforms might be experiencing an increasing number of bettors, but there’s some tension in the air regarding what will be the future of some important sport competitions, like major football leagues. For now, some countries are keeping the competitions unpaused, but with audience restrictions while matches will be played closed-door. If the virus keeps spreading, we can expect that future quarantine measures inside sports teams to impact sports betting routines. Euro 2020 was also postponed to 2021 and we are to see what will happen with the Tokyo Olympics.
Puzzling the cure for Coronavirus
In a much more positive note, scientists worldwide are being invited to play an online game called Foldit with the goal to create an effective antiviral therapy for COVID-19.
This game was created by the University of Washington and is effectively putting scientists and gamers in action to try creating a protein that could be effective against the virus and playing a game simultaneously. Gamers that have hundreds of hours of experience solving complex similar puzzles can be of great help here. Anything discovered by Foldit players will still need to go under rigorous tests but – who knows? – maybe the cure will be discovered by a savvy player!
Mybookie.com is already taking advantage of the situation and is holding some bets associated with the virus.
Some of the most popular bets are:
-Will the 2020 Olympics be canceled?
-Will Trump declare a national emergency due to coronavirus?
-Will Earth’s population in 2021 be over 7.4 billion or under 7.4 billion?
Some might consider this kind of humor offensive or inappropriate. That was the case in China when a huge amount of players amused themselves by playing a game called Plague Inc. and made it become viral. In this game, the objective is to be as effective as possible to spread a virus in the world and it was already a popular game before the coronavirus situation. The game ended up banned from Apple App store in China and its content labeled “illegal.”
Humor is and will always be a salutary human mechanism to cope with all kinds of fears and in sad times some daily interludes of levity are welcome.
Let’s hope for the best and don’t forget to wash your hands: