While the world as we know it has shut down for the foreseeable future, that leaves a lot of time open for playing video games. Entertainment outlets such as movie theaters and sports arenas are taking a hit due to COVID-19, but video games and gaming culture as a whole have been fortunate enough to avoid being affected in all the same ways. Times may seem bleak — and it is easy to feel down about the current state of things — I wanted to do a little round up of all the good news that has come out of video games while we are all stuck inside.
Streaming At An All Time High
Twitch is booming, and no one can dispute that. The live streaming service has reigned as king for a while now while its little brothers YouTube Live, Facebook Gaming, and Mixer have been all playing catch-up. The purple powerhouse has outdone itself in 2020. Reports from StreamLabs have stated that Twitch has reached over three billion hours of content being watched. That’s right, I said billion, with a “B.” While Twitch is basking in their live streaming glory, both YouTube Live and Facebook Gaming also saw increases in their total number of hours watched. If there were ever a time to get into watching live streams or becoming a streamer yourself, the time is now.
Animal Crossing Breaks Every Record Ever, I Guess
There is a new champion for the digital sales record and it is adorable. Nintendo’s latest smash hit, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, has destroyed all other games by selling over 5 million digital copies since its release on March 20th. The uber-casual life simulation game has been highly anticipated since its announcement in September of 2018 and eventual delay at E3 2019, but that delay might have helped it in the long run. Rather than having to compete against a usually crowded release window of the holiday season, Animal Crossing: New Horizons was able to have a whole quarantine season all to itself (and Doom Eternal, but I don’t really think those audiences were overlapping that much). On top of the new Animal Crossing selling like hotcakes, industry analysts reported that Nintendo had sold more Switches in the March of 2020 than in their initial launch month of the Switch.
You Can’t Help but Shake your Head at GameStop
While this news story isn’t quite as happy, it does make you shake your head, give a slight chuckle, and ask “what were they thinking?” It’s everyone’s favorite dying retailer, GameStop! GameStop told media outlets and their employees that they are an essential business, and tried to keep their employees in-stores. You know, GameStop. It’s just as important as grocery stores or pharmacies. How else are people going to get their video games and Funko Pop figures? On top of all that, GameStop has actually reopened many stores in countries such as Italy and Germany. Yeah that Italy: the one shaped like a boot and has the third most COVID-19 cases out of any country in the world. GameStop is also opening retail locations in the states of South Carolina and Georgia, prepared to return to normal business operations.
Ubisoft Shows Off a “New Game”
And last but not least we have Ubisoft’s tried and (kinda) true franchise, Assassins Creed. While I personally have not enjoyed the series in a very long time, I know there are people who are genuinely excited for the newest installment in the franchise, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla. Ubisoft dropped a cinematic trailer for the game and promises the same action the series has been known for, along with new updates such as base building elements, an update brutal combat system, and hunky Viking boys. While I do not correlate the big brooding vikings of the North with the stealthy take-downs of assassins, Ubisoft’s pockets won’t care what I have to say about one of their longest running IPs. Some people are genuinely excited for the next installment, but I am not going to rag on anyone who is looking forward to Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla; rather, I will just laugh at the rehashing of the same gameplay Ubisoft has been putting out for the past decade. Of course, this one does have “Viking rap battles,” so that’s fairly novel.
In a time where everything seems so dark and bleak, it is nice to be able to think about some of the positive (and humorous) things that have been occurring in the world. During these times my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone that has been affected by the virus. Please remain home unless it is absolutely necessary and enjoy your time with loved ones and video games. Let us know what you’re playing in the comments and tune into the HeavyShelf Podcast every Friday at 2 P.M. EST at twitch.tv/heavyshelf to hear what West, Luca, and Moose have been playing, too!