The Coronavirus has impacted several aspects of the video game industry in a variety of ways. Several companies decided to withdraw from attending upcoming events. Sony, CD Projekt Red, and PUBG Corp canceled their attendance to PAX East while EA, Microsoft, Unity, and more withdrew from GDC which ended up getting postponed to the Summer. The Coronavirus also altered other things in the industry such as the postponement of events and delays. Other companies have made decisions to counter the threat of the Coronavirus in other ways such as developing a new studio to keep things rolling. Bungie and Microsoft took a different approach announcing that their employees will be working from home until the Coronavirus outbreak dies down.
In a blog post, Bungie provided an update regarding COVID-19. The statement reads: “While health and safety are our top priority, we also recognize the importance of maintaining the continuity of our regular Bungie business operations and have rapidly built a remote work infrastructure to best support this. This includes delivering on our current content plans, the maintenance, and upkeep of Destiny 2, as well as continuing development of the game. Today, we have activated this fully remote work infrastructure and policy for all Bungie employees across the globe, with the goals of prioritizing the safety of our employees and continuing to develop and deliver on a game we love for our community.”
One of the things Bungie wants to ensure to its Destiny community is that this new plan will not interfere with the launch of the next Season of Destiny 2 which happens next week. The Destiny Dev Team said, “our goal is to continue crafting the ever-evolving Destiny universe while making those behind-the-scenes efforts to keep everything running smoothly invisible to our fans. While there is a possibility that this change could affect our patching cadence in the short term, we will be sure to keep players informed about those schedules as much as possible. Most immediately, we will still be launching Season of the Worthy on March 10, followed by the start of Trials of Osiris on March 13.”
Season of the Worthy has Guardians racing against the clock to save the Last City from annihilation with new activities like Seraph Towers where you try and prepare Rasputin’s defenses. In addition to new maps, Legendary Weapons, Legendary Armor, Quests, and Exotic Weapons, the new season sees the return of Trials of Osiris, the endgame PvP mode where Guardians compete 3v3 to see which Fireteam is the best. The popular game mode hasn’t been in Destiny 2 since its release.
Microsoft took a similar approach to Bungie but addressed the fact that their hourly workers will be affected by this change the most. Brad Smith, the President of Microsoft said: “As the impact of COVID-19 spreads in the Puget Sound region and northern California, Microsoft has asked its employees who can work from home to do so. As a result, we have a reduced need in these regions for the on-site presence of many of the hourly workers who are vital to our daily operations, such as individuals who work for our vendors and staff our cafes, drive our shuttles and support our on-site tech and audio-visual needs. We recognize the hardship that lost work can mean for hourly employees. As a result, we’ve decided that Microsoft will continue to pay all our vendor hourly service providers their regular pay during this period of reduced service needs. This is independent of whether their full services are needed. This will ensure that in Puget Sound, for example, the 4,500 hourly employees who work in our facilities will continue to receive their regular wages even if their work hours are reduced.”