The COVID-19 disease is pretty much ruling all our lives right now. Not only has the pandemic disrupted most daily routines, but it has also left little intact in terms of normalcy. We, humans, crave, and covet entertainment. We all have our notions of the best source of entertainment; some prefer sports, others are partial to movies. To each his won. Sadly, social contact and gatherings are off the table as we battle this virus, meaning we have little left to entertain us. In these dire times, video games have taken a prominent role in people’s lives across the globe.
Gaming has never been more popular than it is at present, as casual and even non-gamers dive deep into various different games. Personalities from various sectors like sports, show business, music, and such have also taken up gaming, surging its popularity even more. Safe to say, video games have played their part in enabling social distancing.
Naturally, this surge in video game popularity has lead to sales records being broken left, right, and center. Just a few days back, the NPD group announced Animal Crossing New Horizons had broken the franchise record in the USA. Call of Duty’s Warzone became a massive hit, surpassing 50 million users in a month. Doom Eternal recorded the best sales weekend of the franchise.
However, these sales records and surge in popularity is just one side of the story. It hasn’t been all rosy.
The developers behind the games have suffered the most in this scenario. Having to work remotely, developers are forced to navigate through a series of difficulties. While it’s never easy building a game, doing it remotely, isolated from your team is a whole another ballgame.
Communication suffers, which affects coordination and teamwork. Imagine putting together a puzzle without knowing what the picture is and with only a few pieces in your possession. Okay, maybe it isn’t exactly like that, but you get my point.
It has been frustrating for the developers to work through this, but they have little to no choice. The nextgen consoles are set to be launched later this year and developers have to work on their games to make sure a simultaneous release.
As Mat Piscatella of the NPD Group said to the NY Times, “new games are what really keeps the market going. If the consoles get delayed, that’s going to have an impact on what we’re seeing in the market, no question.”
As of now, the nextgen consoles from Microsoft and Sony remain on track to launch later in the year. Subsequently, developers won’t get any respite just yet.
Most companies have accomplished developers who are somehow managing to hold it together and continue engineering their new games. However, working in such an unprecedented manner surely has its share of side-effects, mental stress, and burning out being some of them.
And yet, they carry on with their work, crunching away on a daily basis. It is easy to criticize the developers for issues we come across games, but perhaps this is the time to appreciate them.
Let’s hope we can push back this vicious disease plaguing our lives and get a little bit of normalcy back. To learn about the plight of the developers, take a look at this comprehensive piece by the New York Times.