USG Notebook is a weekly column dedicated to rounding up rumors, tidbits, and commentary that didn't get full coverage on the site.
The coronavirus is still an ongoing concern for many companies. GameStop closed a number of its locations around the world, moving many to curbside pick-up, but now it's looking to re-open those stores.
A statement released yesterday announced a number of updates related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Several executives are taking pay cuts, with other corporate and support team staff set to either take wage reductions or temporary furlough. Notably, since closing stores on March 22, GameStop is now taking steps to re-open stores in Italy, Germany, Austria, and the states of South Carolina and Georgia. The retailer is also preparing to re-open more stores in the coming weeks.
According to GameStop, approximately one-third of U.S. store locations remain closed with two-thirds of closed stores offering curbside pickup. This follows a situation in March where GameStop argued that its stores should stay open amid the COVID-19 outbreak because they are "essential retail." Reports from the time also said GameStop's policies surrounding the coronavirus were dangerously flawed.
Many developers have moved to remote work, major games events have been postponed or moved to digital venues, and even the timing of the next generation of console hardware has come into question following the outbreak of COVID-19. As governors begin to consider the possibility of reopening businesses, the potential side-effects come into question as well. "This could be setting us back," said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci in a recent New York Times interview, of Georgia and other states planning to reopen business in the coming days. "It certainly isn't going to be helpful."
Here's the rest of what's been happening this week in gaming news.
From the Rumor Mill
- After reports of departures from System Shock 3 developer OtherSide Entertainment, one employee says, "We're still here." They claim the team is working remotely right now, that things are coming together and they "can't really say anything about it at this point."
- Source code for Team Fortress 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has allegedly leaked, though the veracity and extent of the breach has yet to be determined.
News and Tidbits
Nikkei reports that Nintendo is looking to boost Nintendo Switch output in response to shortages. The Switch has been a massive seller as more people stay indoors, causing some retailers to run low on stock. Nintendo has said that more systems are on the way.
Luminous Productions has resurfaced with an artist interview of Takashi Honjo, featuring a few glimpses at some rough concept art. One of the studios at Square Enix currently working on a new, big IP, you have to wonder what the studio might be up to.
Spike Chunsoft announced that mobile ports of Danganronpa 1, 2, and V3 are on the way as part of the series' 10th anniversary. It's not a Switch port, but Spike Chunsoft teases more to come, so I'm not un-crossing my fingers yet.
Analyst Daniel Ahmad says that with E3 cancelled, many of the planned announcements for the week have been moved around. Some earlier, some later, and some still during the week of E3, but wherever they land, it's likely that June will still be a busy time for games.
NPD Group analyst Mat Piscatella reports a total of 30 Switch eShop titles landing on the same day last week. As the Switch's popularity grows, I'm curious when fatigue will set in from the flood of games coming to the platform.