We already saw some great initiatives pop up right after the initial outbreak in the West, but now there’s been some time to get organised, the international games industry has turned into a fierce weapon against COVID-19. Spearheaded by the #PlayApartTogether campaign major industry players are rallying to offer financial and material support to fight the pandemic.
Recognising the unique ability of video games to create dedicated communities of people that aren’t always easy to reach, the World Health Organisation is using the campaign to spread in-game messages of social distancing and hand hygiene. A lot of developers and publishers are also offering free games or organise special in-game events to fight the urge to socialise in person.
We think this is an excellent opportunity for the #BelgianGamesIndustry to show that even smaller countries can do their part. You don’t need the deep pockets of Rockstar, Sony, or Electronic Arts to help out, either.
For instance, UK developers have teamed up with the government to spread the “Stay Home Save Lives” message in games such as Sniper Elite 4 and Dirt Rally 2.0, and CCP Games is donating real-world monetary value based on the amount of in-game currency contributions of Eve Online players.
On the educational front Roblox has introduced free game design & coding resources for remote learning, Microsoft added free educational resources to its Minecraft Marketplace and Ubisoft is reminding everyone about Assassin’s Creed Discovery Tour, the free educational spin-off of the triple A videogame.
But again: you don’t have to spend a lot of money in order to help. Our proud member LuGus Studios held a special Liftoff double XP promotion during the first two weeks of the lockdown and are exploring more options to encourage people to stay at home.
VR puzzler Cubism is currently offering daily updates for its demo version. The more initiatives like this, the better chance at making a splash with it.
Karel Crombecq, co-developer of Boa Bonanza, launched Berenjacht (link in Dutch) to keep children entertained during these dark times when they go out for walks.
And our proud premium member Next Apps made its award-winning games Sevn, Colorcube and Toddler Zoo available for free on the App Store.
Finding creative solutions is a good start towards surviving this crisis. As one of the most creative industries in the world, we can’t pass up this opportunity to show what we’re worth. We also respect if these trying times have made it impossible for you to spend time and resources on something like this. If your game has been impacted or your company is struggling, please check our updated blog post on support measures (always easily accessible via CORONA menu tab) and, if you didn’t already, please keep us in the loop of what’s happening.