How COVID-19 Coronavirus Affects the Games Localization Industry

Coronavirus and its effect on localization industry

The whole world is stressing out about the Coronavirus, or COVID-19. The situation is getting rougher and more cases are getting reported every day. COVID-19 is still under research, while scientists are still testing and developing its vaccine formula with the help of the World Health Organization (WHO). In the meantime, more than 20 treatments are being developed around the world. 

What is Coronavirus?

According to World Health Organization, Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that affects both animals and humans. In humans, several Coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory system infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
As one of the types of Coronaviruses, SARS was a more deadly one than COVID-19 but is less infectious. There have been no outbreaks of SARS anywhere in the world since 2003.
COVID-19 is the most recently discovered Coronavirus. It was first discovered in December 2019, when the outbreak began in Wuhan, China.
 

What are Coronavirus Symptoms?

Coronavirus symptoms include:
- fever;
- tiredness;
- dry cough;
- shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties.

Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.
Humans can catch the virus, but the symptoms begin in a period ranging from 1 to 14 days, most commonly around five days.
About 80% of infected people recover from COVID-19 without special treatment. One out of every 6 infected people become seriously ill and develop difficulty breathing. The more likely people to develop serious illness, including the elderly, people with high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes.
 
How Will COVID-19 Impact on Purchasing Behaviors?
COVID-19’s impact is somehow similar to SARS in 2003, the first epidemic of the 21st century. Such epidemics can bring both bad dropdowns and good opportunities for manufacturers.
When SARS hit Guangdong province (China) in December 2002, a great slowdown in the FMCG industry followed in April and May 2003. After almost 2 months, the market had recovered and was back to its normal growth rates.
The restaurant market was heavily impacted during SARS as consumers preferred to eat at home instead. The purchasing of Cleaning and Hygienic products (such as face masks and hand sanitizer) has also increased within this period.
Travel restrictions affect businesses in terms of distribution and just-in-time supply chains across technology, automotive, FMCG’s, pharmaceutical, tourism, education, entertainment and other industries. The prices of commodities have dropped due to a fall in the consumption of raw materials, and producers are cutting output. China’s GDP growth is expected to slow by 0.5 percentage this year, taking at least 0.1 percentage off global GDP growth.
The ‘No Physical Contact Online Stores’ is now the ultimate model that fits consumer concerns during the breakout and their willingness to stay home and avoid socializing.
 
According to Kantar research in Asia
60% of people are worried about their financial security.
34% fear COVID-19 could push economies to a recession.

 

Less Travelling, More Eating and Content-streaming

59% of people saying that they have decided to travel less to stay safe.
52% saying that they are less likely to eat out.
30% ordering delivery food.
52% avoiding outdoors socializing.
42% streaming more content.
 

Coronavirus Impact on the Game localization industry

The videogame industry is a huge one worldwide. Game developers consider localizing their games to reach more global players and increase their profits. While the purchasing of tangible products such as FMCG’s, electronics, automotive, etc. are being affected negatively, the intangible services are less likely to get affected. Services purchases don’t include face-to-face interactions nor products that could be carrying the virus.
Take videogames as an example, what could make consumers stop purchasing more of them, especially if they’re willing to stay home more often?
People in the gaming industry are skeptical about whether COVID-19 could affect the Game Localization industry or not. Some agreed that people providing this service would not be affected since consumers will demand more online services and transactions.
It has been evident that some games like PUGB Mobile are experiencing downtime since their server was overloaded due to more game playing. That means people are spending more time playing since they’re staying home, which would be a great advantage for localization.
Other views suggested that economies may fall, resulting in a recession. Consumers will become worried about the future, which will affect their purchasing behavior by saving more money and purchasing less. They see that game purchases would be unnecessary and money-wasting in such situations. Rather than that, consumers will be more into essentials such as food, cleaning and hygienic products, etc.
Game releases are getting delayed due to the coronavirus, so the decision for localization may get delayed as well. However, games localization usually is a lengthy process that it might not necessarily be stopped in the meantime if developers currently have ongoing projects.

Leave us a comment with your opinion about this debate!
From your point of view, how will the game localization industry be affected by COVID-19?
 

Coronavirus and Game Localization Events

One of the most effective and powerfully engaging activities for localizers and game developers are game conferences. These are examples of just a few games conferences worldwide:
Gamescom
Pax
E3
Game Connection
GDC
Digital Dragons
White Nights
Pocket Gamer Connects
XDS

Game developers, publishers and service providers visit such events on a yearly basis and come from all over the world to attend. For example, one of the events mentioned claims that its attendees usually represent over 38 countries.
Because of the existing conditions regarding Coronavirus and its highly contagious interaction, traveling abroad is not advised. To contain the epidemic, it is advised not to be involved in public gatherings.
 
GDC 2020 Important Update
On Friday, February 28th, 2020, following the international Coronavirus outbreaks, GDC posted an update on their website announcing that the Game Developers Conference 2020 has been postponed after big companies including Epic Games, Microsoft, Sony, Facebook, Electronic Arts (EA), Unity and Amazon withdrew for the same reasons.
All China-based exhibitors, who intended to be at GDC, have also postponed their attendance to 2021.
GDC announcement stated that:
After close consultation with our partners in the game development industry and community around the world, we’ve made the difficult decision to postpone the Game Developers Conference this March.
Having spent the past year preparing for the show with our advisory boards, speakers, exhibitors, and event partners, we're genuinely upset and disappointed not to be able to host you at this time.
We want to thank all our customers and partners for their support, open discussions and encouragement. As everyone has been reminding us, great things happen when the community comes together and connects at GDC.”
GDC also assured that they fully intend to host a GDC event later in the summer and will share more information about their plans in the upcoming weeks. The attendees may be refunded the cost of tickets. Yet it’s unclear how GDC will host the event in the summer while it’s already packed of game conferences including Gamescom, Pax Prime, and E3, which may also be affected by the Coronavirus.

Other Events
Blizzard canceled “Overwatch League” events from China to Korea in February and March “in order to protect the health and safety of our players, fans, and staff.”
The F8 Facebook Developer Conference has been canceled by Facebook as well. They stated that “In place of the in-person F8 event, we’re planning other ways for our community to get together through a combo of locally hosted events, videos, and live-streamed content. We’ll share additional details on our plans for F8 in the coming weeks.”
Other game events’ organizers have other points of view. They believe that the events should be held anyway, as it would be more costly if they canceled and will lead to bitter losses either for them or for the attendees and exhibitors.
 

How to protect yourself from the Coronavirus?

- Clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub and wash them well with soap and water.
- Keep at least 1-meter distance when facing anyone coughing or sneezing.
- Respiratory hygiene is necessary. Cover your mouth and nose in your elbow or with a tissue during coughing or sneezing, and dispose of the tissue immediately.
- If you’re willing to wear a mask, make sure that the sides are closed tightly and the colored side is the outside one.
- Cook animal products very well.
- Avoid unprotected contact with animals.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, as hands can transfer the virus to them and then the virus can enter your body and make you sick.
- Stay home if you feel unwell, experience a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, and seek medical care.
- To learn more about COVID-19, go to trusted resources like WHO.  

We hope everyone is staying safe taking the necessary precautions and following good hygiene practices. We also hope that the virus will not affect businesses and the economy on the long run and that the cure will soon be available. 

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