Covid-19, referred to more generally as the coronavirus, is an infectious disease that has spread to more than 100 countries in the short months since it was first documented in China. With cases soaring over 110,000 and continuing to climb, the World Health Organization has declared that the coronavirus is officially a pandemic (opens in new tab).
What does this all have to do with video games? The outbreak of Covid-19 is already having an impact on some of the major expos and industry events, as well as on the production of some games. Over the past week, major game companies have responded to the outbreak, canceling community events, trade shows, and even announcing delays. To help you stay informed, we've created this guide and will continue to update it with all the major news related to coronavirus and the games industry.
The lastest news on coronavirus in videogames
- Gamescom, which attracted 370,000 attendees in 2018, will not go ahead following a decision by the German government to ban "large public gatherings" until the end of August. A digital Gamescom event will "definitely" take place, however. (opens in new tab)
- QuakeCon 2020, which was scheduled for August, has been cancelled. (opens in new tab)
- E3 is now officially cancelled, "following increased and overwhelming concerns about the Covid-19 virus." The ESA hopes to put together an online event for June instead.
- Capcom cancels 4 Pro Tour 2020 tournaments (opens in new tab)
- SXSW 2020 has been cancelled just one week before it was scheduled to begin. (opens in new tab)
- Game Developers Conference 2020 has been postponed due to coronavirus concerns (opens in new tab)
Coronavirus effects on games and community events
Similarly to major conventions, coronavirus is also having an effect on esports tournaments, as well as game development itself. Here's a breakdown of the latest news:
- Electronic Arts has suspended all live esports events, including the first-ever Apex Legends Global Major (opens in new tab)
- The LCS and LEC spring seasons have been suspended (opens in new tab), and the ESL 1 Dota 2 Major in Los Angeles is cancelled.
- The Overwatch League has cancelled all live events (opens in new tab) scheduled through April.
- ESL Pro League Season 11 will be online-only (opens in new tab), due to "travel restrictions and quarantine regulations" imposed as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The finals will also be moved from a 6500-seat arena in Colorado to a studio location in Europe, with no live audience.
- Minecraft Festival (opens in new tab) wasn't set to take place until September, but current events are hampering planning and so organizers have decided to postpone until sometime in 2021. Minecraft Live, which doesn't yet have a date, will go on as planned, however.
- CES Asia has been postponed. It was scheduled to take place June 10-12.
- The 2020 LEC Spring Finals (opens in new tab) have been moved from Budapest to the LEC Studio in Berlin. A live audience is still planned, but it will be smaller and in "a more controlled environment."
- Blizzard has announced that the Hearthstone Masters Tour Los Angeles (opens in new tab) event will be held entirely online. Competitors who have already made non-refundable travel arrangements will be eligible for up to $1500 in compensation from Blizzard, which is nice.
- TwitchCon Amsterdam (opens in new tab) has been cancelled.
- Rocket League's Season 9 World Championship live event is cancelled (opens in new tab), and weekly RLCS and Rival Series broadcasts will be exclusively online for the remainder of the season.
- EVE Online's annual Fanfest in Reykjavik, Iceland is cancelled (opens in new tab) due to coronavirus. The event typically pulls in several thousand players from all over the world.
- Path of Exile developer Grinding Gear Games said the beta for its sequel might be delayed (opens in new tab) due to Chinese development teams being forced to temporarily close down, slowing progress.
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major and Starcraft 2 tournament IEM Katowice is slated to start tomorrow but the local Polish government has revoked its license (opens in new tab) to have the public spectate the event on-site, citing health concerns over coronavirus. The event will continue as planned as a broadcast.
- League of Legends' China pro series circuit (opens in new tab)was suspended but is now proceeding in an online-only format.
- Both the Oculus Quest (opens in new tab) and Valve Index (opens in new tab) VR headsets are experiencing shortages due to manufacturing delays caused by the coronavirus outbreak in China.
What is coronavirus?
Here's an excellent overview addressing the myths (opens in new tab) and truth of coronavirus.
According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are a family of common upper-respiratory viral infections which cause illness in humans. A novel form of coronavirus identified at the end of 2019 is known as Covid-19, and has since spread to over 48 countries at an alarming rate. There are an estimated 80,000 confirmed cases, but because coronavirus can be asymptomatic (meaning those infected don't always present symptoms), and is highly contagious, it's expected that the number of diagnosed cases will climb exponentially higher in the coming months.
For more information on the Covid-19 coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control for updates in North America, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, or the World Health Organization.