Across the industry, delays and longer working hours are becoming the standard.

What you need to know

  • GDC organizers surveyed almost 2,500 game developers about how COVID-19 had affected their work.
  • Almost half said they are working more while being less productive.
  • A third have had a game delayed.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of life in a big way. For the gaming industry in particular, this has meant delays, shifts in how work is done and more. The organizers at GDC (Game Developers Conference) surveyed almost 2,500 developers across different studios. The aim of the survey was to discover exactly how the pandemic had affected them. Some of the biggest findings from the survey are:

  • A shift to work-from-home setups for a majority of game developers.
  • Nearly half of devs report longer working hours and less productivity than before the pandemic.
  • A third of devs have had a game delayed due to the pandemic.

It’s almost easier to name the big games that haven’t been delayed this year rather than the games that have. Just some of the titles explicitly delayed due to COVID-19 include The Last of Us Part 2, The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope and Wasteland 3.

Shawn Layden, former Chairman of Sony Worldwide Studios, recently stated in an interview that the world before the pandemic is “sealed in amber” and that “Everything that was pre-virus is now a historical artifact.”

Still, some are finding creative ways around the problem. Xbox is allowing developers to use a low-latency, 60FPS version of Project xCloud to stream and access Xbox Development Kits.

The ramifications of the global pandemic will no doubt continue even as the next generation of consoles arrive, with the Xbox Series X and PS5 both scheduled to arrive sometime in Holiday 2020. As the pandemic continues, it’s possible that more games will take a longer time to develop due to using a work-from-home environment.