The state of digital gaming and play post-COVID

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Animus Nutus S.r.l.
When the world was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the game Animal Crossing: New Horizons became a hit. While millions of people where social distancing and working from home, games can be a way to stay connected to others. Animal Crossing is a life simulation game, where you can interact with others socially, while taking care of your surroundings, building your new home, growing plants and catching bugs in a dreamland island filled with cute little animals. As much as the interface was appealing and relaxing, it was the social interaction aspect of the game that called attention. Games provide safe spaces for people to interact (with others, with non-playing characters or just with the game world) and express themselves. This opens new opportunities for both researchers and practitioners from different disciplines to look at games through a special lens. If games can reduce loneliness, should they be prescribed by psychologists and doctors? The global pandemic also impacted the amount of money players spend in games. With more people playing digital games, the games industry is booming more than ever. This also opens the space for online broadcasting activities such as eSports. Since most sports events have been cancelled, eSports tournaments became more popular, particularly for under 35s. This also shows the potential of games in the development of online communities. However, as we approach the end of lockdown in some parts of the world, it is not clear if players will continue committed to gaming activities. Players might drop out and get back to their routines; but games have shown their significance beyond entertainment. Now games have proven that they can be a tool for resilience. Thus, game designers and developers have a lot to consider when designing a game. How might we design and sustain a game community? What can other industries learn from games? Which kind of sports can be adapted to the eSport scene? How eSport can be an attraction to motivate people for being more active physically? These are a few exciting questions to answer and more research is needed.
This article is not available at CUD collection. The version of scholarly record of this article is published in The International EFAL-IT BLOG : Information Technology innovations in Economics, Finance, Accounting, and Law (2021), available online at:
Pandemic, Gaming, eSports, Economy
Wanick, V. & Mataruna-Dos-Santos, L.J. (2021). The state of digital gaming and play post-COVID. The International EFAL-IT BLOG : Information Technology innovations in Economics, Finance, Accounting, and Law, 2(2).