With coronavirus still raging across the planet, it’s drastically changed every aspect of our lives. To keep you up to date on how it’s affecting the entertainment industry, here’s another Coronavirus News Roundup.
Gaming coronavirus news
While today marks one month since E3 2020 was officially canceled due to the virus (it feels like it’s been longer than that, right?), we got confirmation earlier this week that there would be no digital replacement for the event.
The Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (CERO) announced it would halt operations until at least May 7. CERO is Japan’s equivalent to the ESRB and PEGI video game rating programs. It seems likely the closure of CERO will have an ongoing effect on video games coming out of, or to, Japan. Time will tell how this ultimately affects upcoming video game releases, but it’s possible that without CERO operating, game releases in Japan will be delayed for the time being.
Speaking of video game delays, there were a couple announced this week. Amazon has delayed the release of New World due to the virus. The MMO game coming from Amazon was initially scheduled to release on PC in May. Coronavirus has pushed the release date to August 25, with a closed beta now scheduled to begin in July.
New World isn’t the only MMO affected this week, as Square Enix delayed the next patch for Final Fantasy XIV. The patch, which looked to come out this June, possibly won’t arrive until July.
Finally, in coronavirus news, Japanese gamers find themselves with more bad luck this week as Nintendo halted the shipment of Switches to Japan. While the gaming system is more popular than ever, and Nintendo claims their factories have recovered somewhat, they have yet to fully recover, according to a Nintendo source cited by Nikkei. Disruptions in the supply chain due to the coronavirus are ultimately the reason Nintendo has stopped shipments. Gamers and parents in the US and Europe may be relieved to hear shipments in those regions will continue as normal.
Film and TV
Fans of Saturday Night Live should be happy to hear the show is returning. Of course, it will be in a new format, made up of content made remotely, and without a live studio audience. SNL had suspended production indefinitely on March 16.
The Friends reunion special, which was originally supposed to release alongside the launch of HBO Max, will now be releasing after the launch of the streaming service. The special was supposed to film last month, but due to coronavirus, the filming was delayed. HBO Max is scheduled to release sometime in May.
Finally, Blumhouse Productions has had to lay off eight employees from its film and TV divisions. Additionally, senior leadership at the company will be taking pay cuts.
Sports coronavirus news
Major League Baseball is the latest professional sports league to give esports a try during the coronavirus pandemic. One player from each of the league’s 30 teams will face off in a 29-game round-robin tournament in MLB The Show 20. Eight players from that round-robin will face off in a playoff tournament featuring best-of-three matches, with a best-of-five World Series scheduled for May 2. Games throughout the tournament will last three innings.
While the XFL stopped playing a month ago, this week, it officially suspended operations. With this suspension, it laid off nearly all employees, with the exception of a few executives. The league apparently has no plans to return for a 2021 season.
Other coronavirus news
Burning Man will not be taking place in the Black Rock Desert this year. The annual festival won’t take any physical form, in fact, as it moves to a digital format. With this year’s theme being The Multiverse, the event’s organizers plan to lean into the theme, though they don’t know the exact form the digital Burning Man event will take.
Finally, this week, the return of a viral hit. Can we even use that term anymore?
Those who remember the distant past of 2016 may recall PPAP or Pen Pineapple Apple Pen. If I sound crazy and you don’t know what I’m talking about, go see real crazy for yourself. That’s more than 320 million views of crazy in less than four years.
The comedian behind the inexplicable hit released a followup this week, encouraging others to wash their hands. That’s more than six million views of common sense in less than a week.
Stay safe this week, folks, and be sure to take Pikotaro’s advice to wash your hands.