Following Bungie, Microsoft and most recently Nintendo, Rockstar is implementing mandatory home working in a bid to protect staff from COVID-19 in its international offices and studios.
“In the interest of reducing the possible impact of COVID-19, Rockstar Games has implemented work from home policies across our international offices and studios,” the company tweeted earlier today.
“After significant research and consultation with our teams around the world, we began rolling out remote work solutions worldwide across the past week, and we are confident we have a robust system in place for our teams to continue their work with a minimum of disruption.”
A message from Rockstar Games pic.twitter.com/uB4syLHROo
— Rockstar Games (@RockstarGames) March 15, 2020
“Our online games will continue to operate as usual, and all support teams will remain available for our players,” the statement continued. “The health and safety of our employees and their families remains our top priority, and we will continue to adapt our practices to the situation as it evolves. We appreciate your patience and understanding, and wish you and your families the best of health during this unusual time.”
Less than a week ago, organisers of E3 – the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) – insisted it was continuing to “plan for a safe and successful” show later this year whilst “actively assessing” the coronavirus outbreak. Now E3 2020 has been cancelled, as has EGX Rezzed, and both Mojang and Electronic Arts have cancelled scheduled live events.
The Game Developers Conference (GDC) has also been indefinitely postponed, and while attendees can expect a refund in full and those who had made hotel reservations via the organisation will be able to cancel without penalty, developers who’ve arranged their own accommodation might still be open to cancellation fees. A number of publishers have teamed up to create GDC Relief Fund to assist indie devs who may have lost money on paying in advance for the now-cancelled GDC.
Kojima Productions, Sony, EA, and Facebook – which owns Oculus – first pulled out of GDC, as did Microsoft, Epic, and Unity. The city of San Francisco – the city that was set to host the upcoming GDC conference next month – had also declared a “local health emergency” over coronavirus. A state of emergency has also be declared in E3 host city Los Angeles.
BAFTA has confirmed it’s revising the format on its upcoming Games Awards in light of the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), too. In a brief statement to press the organisers said the show would change from a “red carpet ceremony” to an online livestream broadcast on the same day as the original live show: Thursday, April 2nd, 2020.