In many ways, the COVID-19 coronavirus has been good for the games industry.
The stay-at-home orders and lockdowns implemented around the world to slow and halt the spread of the virus have resulted in more people playing and – more importantly – spending money on video games.
But, of course, the global pandemic has caused a huge amount of disruption, too. As with almost all industries, games firms have had to adjust to working remotely, while one in three developers have said they’ve had to delay the release of their game due to coronavirus, according to the recently-released GDC State of the Industry report.
COVID-19 has also led to the cancellation of industry events like the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, LA’s E3 and Cologne trade show Gamescom.
These events aren’t just where publishers and developers go to show off their latest titles; it’s also where the deals are signed for the big releases of tomorrow. Studios go to these shows to meet with publishers and investors, as well as outsourcing companies. But thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, these connections might not have been made and those deals could not have been signed.
“Without events, it’s become more difficult to meet and find new developers to scout new games to sign,” The Irregular Corporation’s business development director Mitsuo Hirakawa says.
“We are having to attend more digital events for scouting, and due diligence has become more in depth before we sign a new game. I’m a bit old fashioned, but I like to meet the developer face-to-face if we were to sign a deal and work together. In addition to facts, I also trust my ‘sixth sense’ in gauging a team, whether this is in a formal meeting or having a drink at the bar. Meeting in person allows me to gauge their passion and establish some form of relationship as this all feeds into the due diligence process. Form filling over email or a 30-minute meeting slot definitely has its limitations.”