Coronavirus: How gaming events and e-sports are affected
Gaming events and e-sports competitions around the world have been affected by the coronavirus. Organizers and e-sports officials have canceled or delayed a number of large scale events and competitions. Similar to sports events, and music concerts, organizers of gaming events are trying to help limit the spread of the disease by avoiding large tournaments where lots of people would be together in a small space, making it easier for the virus to spread.
E3, the biggest gaming convention in the world has just announced they are canceling the event, because of coronavirus. It would have taken place on 9-11 June. From Pokemon to League of Legends, Rocket League to Overwatch, lots of competitions have been affected – and there is still no word on whether the Fortnite World Cup will go ahead. There have been 3several hundred reported cases of the virus in the UK, and countries like Italy have been on lockdown to help reduce the spread of the virus.
The Pokémon Company has announced that the Pokémon European International Championships have been canceled. Organizers said their ‘top priority’ was the competitors’ safety and wellbeing, and that public health officials had recommended they cancel the event. As well as this, the big Pokémon Go Safari Zone event in St. Louis, in the US, has been delayed over concerns about coronavirus. Upcoming Safari Zone events in Liverpool, England on 17-19 April, and Philadelphia, in the US, will still go ahead as planned for now, but the company said it will “reassess” them both in early April.
League of Legends
Riot Games has announced that one of its biggest tournaments the ‘League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational’ will be delayed from May to July. This was confirmed in an announcement by the global head of e-sports John Needham.
Riot Games said: “we need to remain flexible given how much the COVID-19 situation has impacted international travel and live events for nearly every sports and entertainment property.” “Shifting the tournament to the summer offers the best chance to see travel restrictions lifted, allowing teams from leagues around the world to travel and compete safely,” said John Needham.
Top LOL player Lee “Faker” Sang-hook has donated $25,000 to a charity fighting coronavirus. China’s League of Legends Pro League has now resumed, but online-only.
Two big FIFA events have been canceled. The FUT Champions Cup Stage V which was supposed to take place on 3-5 April in Bucharest, in Romania has now been called off. The PlayStation Licensed Qualifying Event, which was supposed to take place on 2 – 3 May is also off.
A few online-only events like the EA SPORTS FIFA 20 Global Series eChampions League Online Qualifiers will still be taking place in the weeks ahead. EA Games have said: “We will continue to monitor the situation around the coronavirus, including guidance from the CDC and WHO, and will evaluate and provide more updates as it relates to all of EA’s Competitive Gaming Events.”
Overwatch League matches that were scheduled to take place in China and South Korea have been canceled and postponed. The Overwatch League has announced that the homestand event taking place in Washington D.C. will still go ahead as planned.
Organizers have said they will be taking lots of extra healthcare precautions such as extra cleaning, more handwashing supplies in all toilets, extra hand sanitizer, and signs around the venue instructing people to wash their hands. The post match meet and greets will also be changed to a Q&A session instead.
Psyonix, the developer of Rocket League, has announced that the Rocket League Season 9 World Championship in Texas, in the US, is canceled due to the coronavirus. The team said: “We understand that this is frustrating, but health and safety will always be our top priority.” They also said that with regards to future championship matches, they’ll keep everyone updated.
Video streaming service Twitch has announced that they will be canceling the European leg of TwitchCon. The convention was due to be been held in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, on 2-3 May.
Representatives have said: “We have been monitoring Coronavirus concerns and having weighed the potential health risks to our community we’ve made the incredibly difficult decision to cancel TwitchCon Amsterdam.”
“To say we’re disappointed you won’t be able to enjoy the show we’ve been building for you is a massive understatement. But the health and safety of our community, employees, and everyone else who has a part in making TwitchCon happen is, as always, our top priority. “