Welcome to this week’s Replay, WIRED’s rundown of all the biggest videogame news out there. This week, there are more updates about the impact the coronavirus is having on the industry, as well as some talk of brain-computer interfaces. Curious yet? Read on.
The Game Developers Conference Is Now Scheduled for a New Summer Date
While the world continues to hunker down amidst the spread of Covid-19, the Game Developers Conference is already planning for a recovery. As reported by Polygon, Informa PLC, the company behind the conference, just announced GDC Summer, running August 4 to 6 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. It will be a shortened, less heavily structured conference, with some traditional talks but a stronger emphasis on micro-talks and chats as opposed to the flights of presentations and showcases that characterize the traditional GDC.
Of course, it’s unclear if things will be back to normal enough to run a conference like this by the time August rolls around. Informa says that they’re heeding the advice of health officials to make sure that GDC Summer is safe for everyone to attend. But, depending on how things go, it’s not clear if that means the event will be able to happen at all. Still, good on them for trying.
GameStop Is Doing All It Can to Remain Open During the Pandemic
GameStop, the country’s most prominent videogame retailer, is working hard to remain open during Covid-19, apparently regardless of the toll that could have on their employees or overall public health. Yesterday, Kotaku reported that GameStop sent a memo to its staff instructing stores to remain open, claiming that, “due to the products we carry that enable and enhance our customers’ experience in working from home, we believe that GameStop is classified as essential retail and therefore is able to remain open during this time.”
Today, Kotaku again reports that GameStop has closed its stores in California, but retail locations in other states remain open. Additionally, employees from those GameStops have told Kotaku they’re being forced to use personal time or go on unemployment during the closures that are happening, which is to say, GameStop won’t be paying them during pandemic-related closures.
But Don’t Worry, Gabe Newell Is Working on Building the Matrix
With Gabe Newell, Valve CEO and wacky tech visionary, it’s sometimes hard to know how seriously to take his prognostications. Recently, he spoke to the press regarding the upcoming Half-Life: Alyx, and during a talk with IGN he highlighted his newest area of tech interest: brain-computer interfaces. “We’re way closer to the Matrix than people realize,” Newell said, explaining that brain-computer interfaces, while a long way off, are in the plausible research stages and that they present interesting and solvable technical problems.
How soon is “closer than you think”? No idea, but Newell says that, when it happens, it will be an “extinction-level event” for any non-Matrixy entertainment. So everyone has that to look forward to, I guess.
Recommendation of the Week: Hotline Miami, published by Devolver Digital, on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch
Hotline Miami is a pioneer of slick violence. It’s all blood and gunfire and speed. In a 2D setting, you storm buildings, fight enemies, and don’t stop until nothing is left moving but yourself. Hotline Miami is a forebear of a whole generation of hyperviolent indie arcade-style games, and it’s easy to see why. It’s impressively slick and easy to get lost in; with pounding techno in your ears, you can slip into a trance of slapstick violence. It’s not exactly escapist, but it is compelling. Check it out.
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