Concerns over the rampant spreading of COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus, have forced gaming companies to rethink their schedule of events.
The gaming industry is starting to feel the effects of the coronavirus. Over the past few weeks, several notable companies have canceled events out of fear of the virus spreading.
We’ve seen several eSports leagues reschedule tournaments and, most recently, Sony pulled out of PAX East, where they were expected to provide a one-hour hands-on demo of The Last of Us Part II for show attendees. Sony also recently confirmed to GamesIndustry that it will not be attending Game Developers Conference (GDC) in March. It’s unclear if the coronavirus has had any impact on Sony’s plans for revealing the PlayStation 5, which launches later this year.
In the world of eSports, Blizzard announced that it is canceling its Overwatch League matches in South Korea “in order to protect the health and safety of our players, fans and staff.” South Korea was supposed to play host to matches for Weeks 5-7 and serve as the Seoul Dynasty home event.
The announcement comes just shortly after Blizzard moved Overwatch League games from China — which were set to take place in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hangzhou — to a studio in Seoul. It’s unclear where these matches will take place now.
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Overwatch League is hardly the only international eSport to be impacted by the fallout of the coronavirus. Last month, Riot Games postponed matches for the League of Legends Pro League in China indefinitely, while League of Legends Champions Korea is playing games without spectators.
PUBG Corporation also postponed April’s PGS: Berlin event with no makeup date announced. The four PUBG global eSports events are still scheduled for 2020 but we’ll see if they, too, are impacted.
Beyond eSports, it’s possible the effects of coronavirus could impact console manufacturing. Earlier this month, it was reported that Nintendo could suffer global Switch shortages due to limited component supply comping out of China. And while Sony is apparently struggling with the PS5 due to costly parts, it’s unclear if, or how, the coronavirus could further complicate things for next-gen console manufacturing.
The World Health Organization may not be labeling the coronavirus as a pandemic quite yet, but its impact is starting to be felt across the globe in all aspects of life.