Tokyo Game Show, the games convention held in September every year in Japan, joins the likes of E3, Gamescom, and EVO on the growing list of industry events being cancelled in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The convention was originally set to take place from September 24 to 27, but now, the event organizers at the Computer Entertainment Supplier’s Association are looking into a digital version of the show in its stead, following in the footsteps of Gamescom.
The CESA’s statement reads as follows:
“Due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on a global scale and the situation remains
unpredictable in Japan as well, the organizer and the co-organizers have reached this decision after a
long consideration to place the utmost priority on the health and safety of visitors, exhibitors and
stakeholders. We ask for your kind understanding and cooperation.”
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About two months into this pandemic and quarantine and the threat of the coronavirus continues to impact the games industry from just about every angle. Events like Tokyo Game Show and EA Play are being cancelled or shifted over to digital platforms, which is to be expected as these events bring in thousands of people from all over the world into one concentrated area. But even outside of conventions, several other aspects of the industry are being affected, as well. Developers are now working from home, which has been presenting new challenges to game development, whether that be in general updates to existing games like Final Fantasy XIV or in outright delays of games like Wasteland 3. Sony even went the extra mile and delayed The Last of Us: Part II and Iron Man VR without a new release date, but The Last of Us in particular has since been given a new release date in June, so things might be improving on some fronts.
But while developers are slowly but surely adapting to their new work environment, other sides of the industry like retail have yet to get themselves sorted out in this brand new world. GameStop, the biggest games-dedicated store chain in the world, has been closing and re-opening its stores throughout the pandemic and even trying to tout itself out there as an “essential” business during a worldwide crisis. This is all funny to people who want to dunk on the chain for its trade-in values or that it sells more Funko Pop figures than video games, but this is coming at the expense of its workers’ safety. Even with GameStop’s weird back and forth about the state of its business, some people in rural areas have no good means of buying games, as the internet infrastructure in some areas isn’t up to par to download 100GB games like Final Fantasy VII Remake, requiring them to brave the outside world if they want to play new games.