How COVID-19 Is Affecting the Video Games Industry

At the time of writing, roughly half of the world’s population is under some form of lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Billions of people are currently living with various restrictions in place. In the UK, for example, we’re meant to stay in the house as much as possible, play free casino games no download, only leaving to get essential supplies, go to work (if classed as a key worker) or help relatives. When out of the house, we have to practise social distancing at all times and not come into close contact with anyone else. So far, COVID-19 has robbed many of us of the ability to go about our day-to-day lives and do normal, everyday things. With loads of us stuck indoors most of the time, it should come as no surprise that many are finding a new love for video games. Here’s a closer look at how the virus is having an impact on the video game industry.

More People Playing

To put it simply, loads more people are playing video games than before the virus came along and started spreading. People are bored having to spend so much time indoors unable to go out to work, socialise and enjoy leisure activities. A lot of people are curing their boredom by indulging in screen-based entertainment: watching regular TV, making the most of subscription-based streaming services (such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video) and playing video games. In fact, there’s a lot more streaming going on than ever before, and there are concerns the internet’s infrastructure might not be able to handle it. 

If people aren’t playing games they’ve had lying around the house for games, maybe on older consoles and devices, they’re looking online for the latest and newest ones to try out instead. People want entertainment, and in these uncertain times especially, they want escapism. They want to be able to immerse themselves in something that’s enjoyable and fun – that’s exactly what video games are about. Many gamers are spending more time before gaming, while many people who weren’t really into games before are now devoting hours to them, keen for any sort of escape from the real world and the ongoing virus stories in the news. Not only are people playing video games more, but they’re also playing other types of game, such as online casino games (slots, card and table games, scratchcards and video poker) and even traditional board games. 

Cancellations

A positive effect COVID-19 is having on the video games industry is that it’s giving people more time and reason to play. However, the virus is still having some significant negative effects on the industry that may well go on to have long-lasting consequences. Thanks to the virus, all sorts of real-world events, meetings and social gatherings of any kind have been postponed or cancelled outright. Like any other industry, the video games one relies on all sorts of gatherings big and small in all sorts of countries to keep itself going. Yes, it’s an industry that’s all about screen-based entertainment, but there’s still a real-world aspect to the business. 

Events are very important because they bring people from all parts of the industry together – not only that, they also attract huge numbers of fans. Many smaller design companies rely on events to promote their games and strike publishing deals. Large companies also benefit from events, but they don’t necessarily rely on them as much. Still, these gatherings are vital for the industry because they forge connections and partnerships that help games reach the consumer. 

The world’s largest video game event is E3, also known as the Electronic Entertainment Expo. It’s held annually in Los Angeles and used to be for industry professionals only, though since 2017 it’s admitted members of the public. The 2019 event welcome some 66,100 people. The 2020 event, however, has been formally cancelled because of COVID-19. A virtual version is said to be in the works instead; however, this will unlikely be able to replicate the full, real-world event and everything it creates. 

There are many other video game industry events like E3 that are being cancelled. The Game Developers’ Conference, which is aimed specifically at developers, was scheduled to take place in March, but has been pulled. The cancellation of these key events that bring developers and publishers together is going to hit the independent companies looking for their big break the most. The knock-on effect could well be that in the next few years, fewer games by new developers and smaller companies are released.

Hardware

Another key area of the video game industry that COVID-19 is having an immediate impact on is the production of hardware. There’s a rise in demand for consoles right now, but the problem is that production has all but ground to a halt. A large percentage of video game consoles are made in China, from where COVID-19 originated. It should come as no surprise that there’s been quite a shortfall in production over the last few months, with the result that the demand for new consoles is now much greater than the supply. Thankfully, it seems that the virus has peaked in China, and things are beginning to return to some semblance of normality. People have slowly started returning to work, though it will be a while – most likely many months – before the levels of production return to what they were pre-virus. 

The production of yet-to-be-released consoles is also being affected. Sony’s PlayStation 5 is meant to be getting released in late 2020, while Microsoft’s Xbox Series X also has a scheduled release date of later this year. Both new consoles could well be delayed thanks to the supply chain being disrupted by COVID-19. The longer it takes for things to return to normal, the longer delays in getting these consoles to market may be. It wouldn’t be a surprise if both were put back to 2021.

WIN! ProjeX™ Projecting Gaming Arcade

video games

When it’s lights off, it’s game on with the ProjeX™ Projecting Gaming Arcade from New York City-based NSI International, Inc. Projex lets you blast targets, ducks or UFOs that are projected right onto your wall – each with its own unique sound effects.

ProjeX turns any room in your house into an incredible gaming arcade. The Projex system projects the targets onto almost any wall.  There’s no need for a TV, computer, smart phone or other equipment. The size of your wall is essentially the limit to the size of your play area. Projex works best in a dark room, when you project on a light-colored wall with no artwork, wallpaper or painted patterns. 

The portable, battery-operated projector includes two blasters, which are stored right on the unit, a built-in LED scoreboard, and a place to keep image slides.

ProjeX is battery-powered so it can go wherever you go – inside or out. Play on any blank wall, your garage door – even the side of your house.  It really is a very unique gaming experience.

While recommended for children 6+, ProjeX™ is great for any age child, as well as adults.  Retailing for $49.99, the game can be purchased at Target, Walmart and www.ProjeXGame.com.

There are 5 different built-in games test your speed and skill, as well as 3 skill levels – beginner, advanced and expert (The “beginner” setting accommodates even the youngest players in the room.) It comes with 3 interchangeable image slides. You can blast ducks, targets or UFOs – each with its own unique sound effects. You change slides to change your level of difficulty:

    • Blue (targets) = easy
    • Red (UFOs) = medium
    • White (ducks) = difficult

You can play solo, head to head, or “co op”, where 2 players team up to combine scores. There are also tournaments. If you are playing alone, you can still work on your own score. You can play outside at night as well, on your house or even your garage door.

Set up is easy!

SET UP
  1. Install three BRAND NEW, FRESH “AA” alkaline batteries.
  1. Set ProjeX on a low table, with the projector aimed at the wall. The projector should be 5 feet from the wall.
  1. Slide an image slide into the image slot, rounded side up (if it doesn’t fit, it’s backwards).  Blue = easy, red = medium, white = difficult
  1. Plug in both blasters.  Then, if you’re playing solo, unplug one.
  1. Press the red power button. You have 45 seconds to adjust the focus.
  1. Press the red button again to select game 1-5.
  1. Press the blue button to select your level – beginner, advanced or expert.
  1. To start playing solo or head-to-head, load your blaster by sliding the button on the top. Each reload gives you 6 shots. You can reload at any time.
  1. To start a Co-Op game, where you combine your scores, both players must hold the trigger while they reload.

ADDITIONAL INFO

  • LED scoring display
  • Target Pointers on both blasters help your aim.
  • $49.99 – At Target and Walmart (U.S.) and $69.99 – Toys R Us (Canada)
  • Game requires 3 “AA” batteries (not included)

One of you can win a ProjeX of your own!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sega Genesis Mini #HolidayGiftGuide #VideoGames

The holidays are always a time of nostalgia which is why you’re in luck! SEGA is bringing us back to the 90s with their brand new Genesis Mini. Featuring 42 games, this console is bursting with tons of classic titles. Gamers will be able to enjoy their favorite past times including, Sonic The Hedgehog, Ecco the Dolphin and Mega Man®: The Wily Wars! The newly improved Genesis Mini is 55% the size of the original model, making it easy to play anywhere, anytime! With the holidays so close we can almost taste it – the SEGA Genesis Mini will surely be on the top of every gamer’s holiday wish list.

The iconic SEGA Genesis console that defined a generation of gaming returns in a slick, miniaturized unit. The SEGA Genesis Mini console is loaded with 40 legendary games and is plug and play ready right out of the box. Each unit contains SEGA Genesis Mini Console & 2 wired controllers, 40 games, power cable, USB adapter- HDMI cable.
Some of the games included are: Ecco the Dolphin, Castlevania: Bloodlines, Space Harrier 2, Shining Force, Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, Toe Jam & Earl, Comix Zone, Sonic the Hedgehog, Altered Beast, Gunstar Heroes, Earthworm Jim, Castle of Illusion, Shinobi III, Contra: Hard Corps, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, World of Illusion, Thunder Force III, Super Fantasy Zone, Streets of Rage 2, Landstalkers, Beyond Oasis, Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, Alex Kidd, Golden Axe, Phantasy Star IV, Street Fighter 2, Mega Man: The Wily Wars, Sonic Spinball, Vectorman, Wonderboy in Monster World

The Sega Genesis Mini, known as the Mega Drive Mini in regions outside of North America, is a dedicated console modeled on Sega’s Genesis. The Mini emulates the original console’s 16-bit hardware, and includes 42 games ported by M2.

The Mini is half the size of the original Sega Genesis video game console. There are separate releases for North America, Europe, Asia and Japan, as the Mini reproduces the original console’s decal and color variations in those regions. The North American and European Minis include three-button controllers, while the Japanese controllers have six buttons. Officially licensed six-button controllers made specifically for the Mini are also sold separately in North America and Europe. Official non-functioning accessories of a miniature Sega CD, a miniature Sega 32X, a miniature Sonic & Knuckles lock-on Genesis cartridge, and a miniature Sonic the Hedgehog standard Mega Drive cartridge are also sold separately in Japan.

The Mini includes 42 games, though the exact selection varies by region. Depending on the region, certain games have multiple regional variations that can be played by changing the system’s language. For example, Contra: Hard Corps becomes Probotector when played with a PAL-region language while the Japanese language setting turns Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine into Puyo Puyo. The games have a saved state feature to pause and resume progress and can be played in either the original ratio or stretched widescreen, with HUD elements modified to fit onto the screen. Two bonus games, Darius and Tetris, were never released for the original system and were newly ported from their arcade releases.

Available for $60 at locations like Target.

WIN Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Video Game #GiftGuide

 

best video games

Now available, the new Mario and Sonicat the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Here is my son’s review of the game-

Have you ever wanted to see Mario vs. Dr. Eggman? Or Sonic vs. Bowser? As of November 5, you can pit all of Mario’s and Sonic’s iconic characters against each other in the biggest video game mash-up of 2019, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020! Take rivalries to the skate park, diving board, archery range, and more with an incredible suite of 3D and 2D events, imaginative Dream events (who hasn’t wanted to see Sonic on a hoverboard AGAIN?) and an expansive Story Mode.

What you need to know about Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020:

  • Brand New Story: Help Mario & Sonic escape from a 2D-themed console, the “Tokyo ’64,” hatched as part of Dr. Eggman’s and Bowser’s nefarious plans to trap the colorful and capable power pair.
  • A Bountiful Medley of Events: Skateboard, surf, and race your way to the top of the podium! With more than 30 events to master in this fun-filled Olympic Games showdown, there are plenty of ways to prove your skills to your friends in local and online multiplayer.
  • Push the Boundaries: Dream Events deliver a layer of fantastical chaos. Zip through a downhill obstacle course on your hoverboard, throwdown for territorial control with lightning-fast karate action, or smash the most targets inside a traditional Japanese manor!
  • So Many Ways to Play*: Exclusively on Nintendo Switch, determine who the real champion is while using the fun and flexibility of Joy-Con controllers to your advantage.
  • Play with a Cast of Fan-Favorite Characters: The gang’s all here! Play as Mario, Sonic, and a star-studded cast of your favorite SEGA and Nintendo characters!

Mario and Sonic Are Back in the Perfect Party Game on November 5.

Enjoy all the different classic 2D events, perfect for friends and family:

  • 100m
  • 10m Platform (Diving)
  • 400m Hurdles
  • Gymnastics – Vault
  • Judo
  • Kayak Single (K-1) 1000m
  • Long Jump
  • Marathon
  • Shooting – Trap
  • Volleyball

You will also dash, climb, jump, surf and more in these fast-paced 3D events:

  • 100m
  • 110m Hurdles
  • 4 x 100m Relay
  • Archery
  • Badminton
  • Boxing
  • Canoe Double (C-2) 1000m
  • Discus Throw
  • Equestrian – Jumping
  • Fencing
  • Football (Soccer)
  • Gymnastics – Floor Exercise
  • Javelin Throw
  • Karate – Kumite
  • Rugby Sevens
  • Skateboarding – Park
  • Sport Climbing
  • Surfing – Shortboard
  • Swimming – 100m Freestyle
  • Table Tennis
  • Triple Jump

The fun even goes beyond the limits of reality with all-new Dream Events:

  • Dream Karate
  • Dream Racing
  • Dream Shooting

Release Date

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will take to the starting blocks exclusively for the Nintendo Switch on November 5 in the Americas for $59.99 USD and November 8 in Europe with commensurate pricing. For more information, including where ordering the game, be sure to visit the official website, and watch our latest trailer.

*Joy-Con functionality does not extend to all events.

**Internet connection required during online play. To use online services, you must create a Nintendo Account and accept the related agreement. The Nintendo Account Privacy Policy applies. Some online services may not be available in all countries. Online play requires paid online membership.

One of you can win a video game of your own as well. Please feel free to enter to win using the RC code below. Good luck! Ends Dec. 4, 2019.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Luigi’s Mansion 3 by Nintendo #GiftGuide

Looking for a fun game to get for the kids this holiday season? Nintendo has just come out with the 3rd in a their series, Luigi’s Mansion 3, just in time for this gift giving season. Luigi just wanted to get away, a little vacation- but that just never seems to work out for him, does it?

My son’s review of Luigi’s Mansion;

Poor Luigi. He has a knack for stumbling into the most precarious predicaments. His biggest adventure yet, Luigi’s Mansion 3¸ arrives on Nintendo Switch. When Luigi shows up at the Last Resort hotel, he discovers the entire building is teeming with ghosts. You’ll need your trusty Poltergust G-00, the help of Gooigi and all your wits to survive. Visit This Site for even more fun family activities. You’ll find instructions for making your own Gooigi mask, as well as special ghost-o’-lantern stencils for carving pumpkins with friendly phantoms from Luigi’s Mansion 3, including Polterpup! Don’t forget to print out a Boo-themed paper chain garland to haunt your home with aplomb.

This hotel is equipped with some of the finest and most diverse amenities across our multiple floors. While other hotels only provide a simple continental breakfast, we offer a disco, a greenhouse, a giant pyramid and even a massive pirate ship! You will never leave! Er… I mean, you will never want to leave. You will be having too much fun!

gift guide

While the hotel is vast, you will never feel lonely. Gooigi is never far away if you need his help… and you can even play with a friend to have Gooigi by your side at all times. For more multiplayer fun, you can race the timer to clear objectives with up to seven other guests in ScareScraper mode*, or try your luck at a variety of mini-games in ScreamPark mode. Be sure to try them both when you have a chance.

*Nintendo Switch Online subscription required to play ScareScraper mode online.

Tech Your Kids Will Really Fall For

 

Now that school is (finally!) back in session, you might be looking for fun ways to keep the kids stimulated and learning but still having fun while at home. We like board games and hiking as much as anybody, but sometimes a little hands-on building and creating goes a long way towards getting your child(ren) interested in something new, or perhaps just learning a little more about their favorite activities and what makes them “go”.

smart toys

If your kids like computers, video games, robots, or construction, Botzees might be the tech for you. This smart toy brings together virtual and hands on play in a way that is both fun and educational. Kids will enjoy playing, and won’t feel like they are having more “ugh, learning” heaped on them.  Botzees, the newest toy from Pai Technology, is a new robotics kit that is meant for kids ages 4 and up. This is a great way to sit with your kids and learn together- I have to admit this is an area my son is far and away better then I typically. It’s fun to learn together, and he loves when he can show me things. With this kit, you and your kid(s) can build, program, and code. There are six pre-designed robots, or you can go all out and create your own.

Once you build your Botzee, it can “be taught to move, drum, dance, make sounds and light up using the free Botzees app. Additionally, the 30 interactive Augmented Reality puzzles will teach even more coding concepts with visual cues.” (as per Pai Technology) It is available for $100 at https://www.pai.technology/botzees and Amazon.

Labo

If you have a child that is into video gaming, there is a new construction toy available that enhances gameplay. Nintendo recently released Nintendo Labo, which is one part game and one part construction toy. According to  Nintendo, they “designed Labo as a way to teach principles of engineering, physics, and basic programming”. You and your child build the kit out of sheets of pre-cut cardboard (thick stuff, not the weak stuff that instantly falls apart on you) and other parts. These you then use with your Nintendo Switch and it’s joy cons, and the creation is what Nintendo is calling a “Toy Con”. You use your “toy con” to interact with software and games.  With the basic Starter Kit, you can build VR Goggles and a Labo Blaster to take on aliens (not my favorite aspect, honestly).  The Blaster Labo Toy-Con can be played with either one or two players. Everything is in VR.  Starter set is $39.99 at https://labo.nintendo.com/kits/

kirby's extra epic yarn

If you are looking for a fun and non-violent game to play with the kids, check out Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn. Rated “E” for everyone, it’s the latest in the Kirby series.  In this game, Kirby was banished by a baddie into a world where he is made of yarn. While that may seem like a problem, the plus side is that Kirby can transform himself into all sorts of awesome like tanks, UFOs, a dolphin, and more. He gets “power ups” that give him advantages like getting a sword or becoming a tornado. Of course, he still has his classic copying abilities. Collect treasure as you move along the game, and show them off with the “Street Pass” feature, or switch out of story mode into “Devilish Mode” to try to earn even more. There are also two minigames that feature Meta Knight and King Dedede.  Available for $39.99 at https://www.nintendo.com

 

Gifts For the Gamer in Your Life #GiftGuide

If you have a gamer on your holiday shopping list this year, there are some fantastic games that have recently come out that we think they will really like.

LEGO fan? Who isn’t? No matter what age, in this house, everyone likes LEGO. Combine it with video games, then mix in the DC Universe, and you have the recipe for a win right there.

“LEGO DC Super-Villains” has just been released, and let’s gamers play as villains for the first time ever. In collaboration with DC Comics and joined up with DC Super-Villains including The Joker, Harley Quinn, Lex Luthor, Deathstroke, Killer Frost, Sinestro, and more from the Legion of Doom, players set out to create chaos and strike out against good.

Following the trio of “LEGO Batman” , it is a similar style action-adventure game featuring a features a two-player cooperative multiplayer mode. It is available for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

LEGO video games

For another LEGO game, check out “LEGO The Incredibles”.  Coming out in time to join the new Incredibles movie, this fun-filled game features all your favorite characters getting themselves into and out of trouble. Take control of your favorite Incredible and act out sections from the movie, recreate favorite scenes and home and family life. Make sure you battle and defeat all the bad guys and team up with other members of the family while you save the world, LEGO style.  Available for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

lego game

Can’t get enough LEGO?  We were really looking forward to the “LEGO Harry Potter: Collection” game, and cannot get enough of it. The LEGO Harry Potter games were the first ones that created a huge hub to interact between missions or chapters. There are many secrets to discover in Hogwarts and it’s grounds. You can play as many different characters once you unlock them, and you will need to do so in order to progress to different areas. This compilation brings LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 and LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 to the Nintendo Switch and Xbox One with both top-selling videogames remastered into one.  This game will cast it’s spell on everyone, young and young at heart alike.  Available now Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One.

best video games

“Scribblenauts Mega Pack” is a  new two-game collection which features entire versions of both “Scribblenauts Unlimited” and “Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure”. You also get special bonus content for both games. “Scribblenauts Unlimited” follows the storyline of trying to save your sister, who is trapped. You have to solve puzzles to save her. Each gamer can create and summon anything they can imagine, from characters like Mario to a puppy to a rainbow to whatever else. Your creations then run about in your world. You can share creations with other players, as well, by putting them in a “hub” or shop. This is a 1 player game.

Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure lets your imagination run wild(er) by combining the Scribblenauts world with thousands of DC characters and objects. Available now on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One.

yo kai video game

My child is obsessed with Yo-Kai, and I’m guessing he’s not alone. The latest Yo-Kai games, “YOKAI WATCH BLASTERS: Red Cat Corps” and “YOKAI WATCH BLASTERS: White Dog Squad, let players team up with up to three other friends either at home or online (parents, be on your toes as to whom your child “friends” online) to fight the “Big Bosses”. Develop and use skills and special “Soultimate Moves” and befriend more then 400 Yo-Kai on your journey. These games are different from previous Yo-Kai games in that instead of playing turn-based battles, the “Yo-Kai Watch Blasters” games have gamers play in fast paced, real time battles and missions with action-RPG throughout. During these battles, you directly control your Yokai as you strategize with different skills and equipment to defeat bosses.

YOKAI WATCH BLASTERS: Red Cat Corps and YOKAI WATCH BLASTERS: White Dog Squad are available for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems for $39.99 each.

harry potter video game

New Video Series Reveals Details about Toy-Con Garage Mode for Nintendo Labo #Nintendo #VideoGames

In the first video of a short series, Nintendo revealed new details about Toy-Con Garage mode, an inventive feature included with the software in each Nintendo Labo kit for the Nintendo Switch system (sold separately). Toy-Con Garage introduces basic principles of technology in a fun way, allowing Nintendo Labo users to combine various inputs and outputs to invent new ways to play.

Between now and the launch of Nintendo Labo on April 20, Nintendo will release videos showing off more information about different Toy-Con Garage features and tips.

To view the first video in the series and learn more about Toy-Con Garage, visit https://labo.nintendo.com/invent/. Highlights from the video include the following:

  • Users can discover creative ways to play with their Toy-Con projects, such as steering the RC Car with the Fishing Rod or using the Motorbike as an instrument. It’s even possible for users to invent their own Toy-Con creations using common materials from around their house!
  • To make all of this possible, Toy-Con Garage mode includes different input and output selections, called “nodes.” Input nodes include actions such as button presses or motions, while output nodes include reactions such as sound effects or vibrations.
  • The input nodes vary slightly for the software in each Nintendo Labo kit*, encouraging users to experiment with different conditional statements (i.e., if you do this, then that happens) and create new experiences.

Stay tuned for more exciting Nintendo Labo updates at https://labo.nintendo.com/.

*Toy-Con Garage mode in the Variety Kit includes input nodes for Toy-Con Fishing Rod, Toy-Con House, Toy-Con RC Car, Toy-Con Piano and Toy-Con Motorbike. Toy-Con Garage mode in the Robot Kit includes input nodes for Toy-Con Robot.