Coronavirus Outbreak Puts Gaming’s Next-Gen Consoles Under Threat

The coronavirus is having a huge impact on gaming, it'll be years before we know just how many ways it has shaped the industry.
Posted in: GamingOp-ed
February 17, 2020 1:59 PM UTC
  • The Wuhan coronavirus has been having a huge impact on many aspects of life around the world.
  • Gaming is also being affected by delays and cancellations due to the virus.
  • These effects could continue to shape gaming for years and years into the future.

The Wuhan coronavirus is having a huge impact on economies and industries around the world. Gaming is no exception to that.

We’ve already seen a whole slew of delays and cancellations. From esports events to entire console launches, companies are putting projects on hold while they try to deal with the crisis.

The truth is that the coronavirus could have an effect on the games industry for years, if not decades, to come.

From adult game giveaways to massive delays, the coronavirus will be shaping gaming for years to come. | Source: Steam

Coronavirus Has Made Big Changes During an Already Tumultuous Time

We’re currently in a sort of limbo between two console generations. While we wait for details on the PS5 and Xbox Series X there’s a certain period of uncertainty going on.

The coronavirus hasn’t helped in that regard either. Everyone was initially excited about the release of the two new consoles at the end of the year. Now it’s under serious doubt whether or not they’ll come out in 2020 at all.

There are some serious implications that come with delaying an entire console generation. Firstly it’s going to mean a longer wait for gamers and a longer period of declining hardware sales for game companies.

With Switch hardware about to suffer major shortages, Nintendo might develop a massive disadvantage considering they’re already going into the next-gen without any new hardware.

It’s Not Just Next-Gen Consoles Being Effected Either

The coronavirus is also impacting esports and other gaming events. Blizzard recently canceled Overwatch events scheduled to happen in China. Even more recently they moved them to South Korea, even while other events in the country have gone without spectators for safety reasons.

There have been numerous other delays and cancellations, from ports to hardware. But, there have been some arguably good outcomes as well.

A lot more gaming is being done in China since people are avoiding the streets to avoid catching the coronavirus.  Some developers have even been giving away ‘adult’ games to convince people to stay indoors. Not to mention the massive boost to sales for Plague Inc.

The truth is that we won’t know the lasting impacts of coronavirus on gaming, and indeed on the world at large, until the far future. It is only by looking back that we will truly have an idea of how gaming was changed forever by a deadly virus.

Samburaj Das edited this article for If you see a breach of our Code of Ethics or Rights and Duties of the Editor or find a factual, spelling, or grammar error, please contact us.

Last modified: June 24, 2020 1:04 AM UTC

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William Worrall @mizushinzui

William Worrall is a professional writer based out of the UK who has been writing about video and tabletop games for over a decade and has covered industry events such as EGX and UKGE. Visit his website, contact him at, or see his LinkedIn profile here.

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