Yes, it is most definitely affected. Several international events have been cancelled as part of the efforts to contain the COVID19 outbreak.
A game company puts a lot at stake when it decides that it will be postponing or cancelling an event. Apart from the financial hit (remember, it costs thousands to rent booth space, not including decoration and everything else), it’s also a big hit to being able to promote the latest title the company has to offer.
Recently, the decision to postpone GDC 2020 (Game Developers Conference) to later in the year hit the industry hard, especially since the expo is traditionally one of the premiere events for the first quarter of every year.
In light of the COVID-19 situation though, most companies see this as acceptable, if it means safeguarding the lives of their employees. After all, expos enhance likelihood of the spread of COVID-19.
Already having a reputation for the gathering of the (unwashed) masses, expos can easily be the cause of a massive spreading event for the virus.
Even e-sports have taken a hit to their gatherings.
Now even though it is stated that the Capcom Pro Tour’s NorCal Regionals 2020 has been postponed until further notice, they are still promoting that it is happening from 10th to 12th of April.
I’m left wondering what’s true, with conflicting reports popping up all around.
Capcom Pro Tour’s April Annihilation 2020 (AA2020) was also mentioned in the list of this year’s removed events.
However, I have observed that the marketing of the event is still ongoing. At first I thought that it must be for the same reason as NorCal Regional’s event but actually, there has been a misunderstanding. It seems that AA2020 has not been cancelled.
Also we have the Capcom Pro Tour’s Brussels Challenge 2020 which has been certainly cancelled as it was mentioned again by Younes on Twitter.
This is probably a measure taken to ensure that the news of the cancellation is concrete. Since event statuses of NCR2020 and AA2020 seem to still be under debate.
The Overwatch League’s South Korea Tour 2020 has been cancelled altogether. Which also means that the Seoul Dynasty home event is cancelled. And so are the matches for Weeks 5, 6 and 7, or at the very least…delayed until further notice.
It’s not surprising, considering the rapidly deteriorating situation in South Korea.
Exactly how bad is the situation?
It turns out that there are over 1000 cases in one day in South Korea. Total count of cases as of now is 5100 and these include 29 deaths from COVID-19. Anyway you spin it, that’s a significant number, especially since more are probably infected throughout the country without even realizing it.
Which means that there is no control on the speed of how COVID19 is infecting the people. Definitely the right decision is to not host gatherings in South Korea, especially Daegu.
“Last month, Blizzard announced that it canceled all OWL games in China that were slated for February and March.”The Verge
The cancellation of international events particularly in China is pivotal.
Or perhaps they are engaging services to ensure that every single individual attending is checked thoroughly prior to gaining entry to premise.
It may sound like an extreme measure but Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC) 2020 will be doing it’s best to achieve this. Their event has not been cancelled. It will be held at the Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) in downtown Seattle from the 12th to the 15th of March.
Whether ECCC succeeds or fails will likely be a litmus test for the whole industry, and likely other industries as well. So far, it’s been the only notable convention in the US to stick to its schedule despite the proliferation of COVID-19 cases in the country.
If ECCC goes off without a hitch, then great. Its organizers will probably be heralded as being one of the best, able to ensure the safety of thousands of guests. If on the other hand ECCC is the birth of the next big infection event, then all hell will come down on them…and with it, the likelihood of holding any sort of expo in the next few months.