CoronavirusSports

Video games serve as escape during COVID-19

Photo by Anurag Sharma from Pexels
For almost two months the world has shut down until further notice. People have been requested to stay home as much as possible. Sports are on hold while other entertainment like movie theatres have shut down. But the video game industry has been immune to the coronavirus pandemic and one source of escape.

With a constant barrage of breaking news about COVID-19 and social distancing, it is understandable this time period can be depressing, especially for those who have found themselves without a job. While not a cure, video games can be a form of escapism.

The time is bittersweet for gaming fans as games like Doom Eternal and Animal Crossing arrived on consoles amidst growing concern.

The fan favorites saw immediate financial success. Doom Eternal’s publisher Bethesda announced the game had its best launch weekend of any game in the franchise.

Whether it’s smiting demons in Doom Eternal or roaming your relaxing island in Animal Crossing, these games served as an escape from the reality of life today.

The video game industry itself has done its best to promote its product while advocating health and safety. In late March, 18 video game companies began a #PlayApartTogether campaign which promotes social interaction through gaming to obey the World Health Organization’s (WHO) social distancing guidelines.

“It’s never been more critical to ensure people stay safely connected to one another. Games are the perfect platform because they connect people through the lens of joy, purpose and meaning. We are proud to participate in such a worthwhile and necessary initiative.” Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said in a press release.

Despite WHO naming video game addiction as a mental health disorder in 2019, the health organization has backed the video game industry’s campaign.

“We’re at a crucial moment in defining outcomes of this pandemic,” said Ray Chambers, the WHO ambassador for global strategy, in a tweet. “Games industry companies have a global audience – we encourage all to #PlayApartTogether. More physical distancing + other measures will help to flatten the curve + save lives.”

Video games have even been a source for athletes now without a sport. Phoenix Suns all-star Devin Booker recently won a video game tournament where professional basketball players played the popular sports game NBA 2K. The grand prize of $100,000 will be split between the Arizona Food Bank Network and #FirstRespondersFirst. 

Whether it’s a multi-millionaire athlete, the video game industry itself or just someone needing a break from these hectic months, video games have been a source of escapism.

About Author

Aaron Decker is the Sports Editor at the Mesa Legend. He absolutely love sports. He grew up an avid fan of the Pittsburgh Steeler's and moved to Phoenix in 2002, beginning his journey as an Arizona Diamondback fan. When not writing, going to school or watching sports, he is playing his favorite hobby, video games. You can follow him on Twitter @ADecker1138.