Coronavirus Begins to Cause Problems for the World of Gaming

Tyler Eddins | Technology Editor

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

The lethal virus that originated in Wuhan, China has spread to various parts of the globe in a matter of months. The rapid spread and growing death toll have citizens and international businesses alike worried.

Music festivals, business meetings and conferences have been cancelled or postponed, and this past week we saw the first gaming events be affected by the virus.

On Monday March 2, it was announced that the Game Developers Conference (GDC) had been postponed until an undisclosed date in the summer. GDC was supposed to be held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California from March 16 to March 20.

The announcement came mere days after multiple reports of people with the COVID-19 disease in Northern California were released. Even before the postponement, game publishing giant Activision released a tweet advising their employees not to attend the conference as the situation was being monitored.

Bungie also began taking precautions be initiating a work from home policy. The Destiny publisher activated a fully remote work infrastructure and policy for all of their global employees to ensure their safety and productivity. Their plans to release previously scheduled content for Destiny 2 have not been delayed at this time.

While Bungie’s plans have not been affected, other publishers have. League of Legends publisher Riot Games were forced to cancel a capture event for their upcoming game Valorant. The publisher sent an email to those invited to the event with word of the cancellation.

Riot Games problems don’t stop with the Valorant event either. The League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) has been suspended until further notice as more cases of the coronavirus are confirmed in South Korea. Their Japanese league has also been forced to play the remainder of this season’s matches without audiences in attendance.

Other esports events have also been affected. Teams competing in the Intel Extreme Masters XIV held in Katowice, Poland were also forced to play in arenas closed to the public. Matches being held in the Asian region of the Overwatch League have also been canceled.

Following suite, Capcom stripped three events of their Pro Tour status and all points associated with competing in those events for the safety of their fans and players. Those events included NorCal Regionals, Brussels Challenge 2020, and April Annihilation 2020.

This will be the first time ever that NorCal Regionals will not have its status.