The gaming industry has been going through a bit of an elevated success with the outbreak of COVID-19 and the later lockdowns. While most of the population remained indoors, they found themselves with more excess time to spend, which they used on plugging through new games. In March alone, the industry amassed 1.6 billion USD in sales from games, consoles, and peripherals. This has been the most successful March that the industry has experienced in over a decade. Yosuke Matsuda, sitting CEO for Square Enix sees an upcoming issue with the gaming industry from COVID-19. While the boost in sales was nice for everyone involved, most of the industry also had to close production.
Most of the boost was spent on maintenance, and not being spent on capitalizing on production and development. Most projects are been delayed, put on hold, or have been progressing at a slower rate than what was projected for an undisrupted development cycle. “What we are selling now may have provided some positive aspects, but on the negative side, the time has stood still in terms of production. We couldn’t develop anything. That is where the impact will come,” Yosuke Matsuda explained that delayed production and the extra costs because it will cause the boost in profit during the lockdown to ultimately be a wash instead of having a better than a normal year. While Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Square Enix’s own Final Fantasy VII Remake has been an extreme success during the lockdown, most of the development and production were done before the virus’s outbreak.
Newer projects for the next year will be coming out at a slower rate as the industry tries to come back together as the virus subsides. Yosuke Matsuda is not alone, Xbox’s Phil Spencer has also issued a similar warning, with MOCAP production, in particular, being put on hold during the lockdowns.