Gaming News Genshin Impact on Shutdown: How Does China’s ‘Zero Covid’ Policy Affect Gaming?
While the Covid-19 pandemic seems like a distant memory from France, the situation in China is more than worrying. The country is now facing its worst outbreak in two years and is implementing extremely strict health measures in the hardest-hit cities. In Shanghai, almost all of the 25 million residents are locked up. Companies also pay the price. Including MiHoYo, the studio behind the Genshin Impact online box.
For the first time in its history, Genshin Impact will not be hosting its monthly update. Why ? The reason is not on the side of demanding content that would require more time or a technical issue that requires a few months of customization. The reason is always the Covid 19 pandemic. The virus may now be almost invisible in France, but it is making a very worrying return to China, with a situation comparable to the start of the epidemic. Last week, the local Department of Health announced more than 15,500 new cases in the last 24 hours. The city of Shanghai, which has a population of 25 million, would be hardest hit. A metropolis with video game companies like Tencent, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft. But also HoYoverse, formerly MiHoYo, which is developing Genshin Impact.
“Our team in Shanghai is now working from home and is doing its best to organize all work online.” To explain the studio, at Kotaku. “We are also providing resources to members of this team during this complex time.”. In order to counteract the return of the corona virus, the Chinese authorities have decided to do so a particularly strict zero-Covid policy. It applies to all major cities in the country where the health risk is too great, including Shanghai. It’s a drastic confinement for almost the entire population for a month and tight monitoring of those exposed to the virus. A tactic that has already borne fruit in 2020, but is taking a heavy toll on residents’ daily lives, led them to demonstrate from their windows. Worse, it’s even complicated to get food. Without forgetting the global economic impact, the country is still often referred to as the “workshop of the world”.
Faced with the crisis
Of course, China-based video game companies are not spared. Starting with HoYoverse, it was therefore forced to close its offices in Shanghai for a few days at the beginning of April, writes Kotaku. That is probably still the case today. A few days ago the team announced on twitter the postponement of its version 2.7 without specifying a date. In question “the progress of the project”. There are rumors of difficulties recording new dubs, especially given the current lockdown. The update delay would be 4 weeks.
What is certain is that it is not easy for a video game studio to switch to teleworking overnight. Beyond the obvious logistical problems, Developers very often work on confidential projectsas explained Super Smash Bros creator Masahiro Sakurai during the first pandemic (March 2020). The man and his teams then prepared new characters for the famous fighting game: “It’s very confidential work and it’s not like people can take it home and bring development material with them; Honestly, the work cannot go ahead.”.
In one of our articles on the subject, developers also mentioned more down-to-earth issues, such as the lag when connecting to your professional computer from home and testing in a game engine. “The problem is that as a level and mission designer I have to test a lot of things in the engine.” explained at the time Pierre Berruer from Ubisoft. Complications can vary depending on the position. But in telework, the framework of a development is inevitably affected. Except for the teams that have always organized themselves like Moon Studios (Ori and the Blind Forest).
It’s no coincidence that out of 3,000 video game companies surveyed by the Game Developers Conference in 2021, 44% said they postponed their title because of the pandemic. But for Genshin Impact, the stakes remain high, even if it’s “just” an update. This free action adventure game with gacha – draw a playable item or hero – draws all its power from an exemplary follow-up. It usually gets a major update every month and a half. A profitable strategy. Since the launch of the software (September 2020), players have spent 3 billion dollars in purchases in the gameon mobile, totaling a billion every six months.
HoYoverse knows better than anyone: it’s thanks to the players that Genshin Impact is where it is today, way ahead of the competition. And the Chinese studio has also planned Compensation to apologize for the delay of version 2.7, although it is not within its remit. Starting May 11, fans will benefit from a whole range of bonuses. A welcome patch specifically for video games. However, there is another area of the sector that cannot benefit from such subsidies. That of the electronic chips, where the shortage starts again, especially at Intel. All in all, it’s not tomorrow that our favorite industry will truly return to normal.
Of IndiaJournalist jeuxvideo.com