As the world navigates the reality of the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic, we’ve already noted several ways that the outbreak has changed our daily lives. Me being me, I noticed just how many professional sports organizations were moving into broadcast versions of their eSports as a way to fill the void. That of course isn’t the only way video game life has changed.
Another appears to be the odd case of Final Fantasy 14, an online MMORPG. The game has had a vibrant, if congested, real estate economy involving the buying of virtual homes and properties. Due to the outbreak, the game recently announced that, similar to real life in many cities, evictions were on a pause.
In an announcement yesterday, the Final Fantasy XIV team announced that they would freeze housing evictions within the game due to the ongoing covid-19 pandemic affecting the world. Automatic demolitions on abandoned houses in the game’s fantasy world of Eorzea are on hold for the foreseeable future.
“Taking into account the world-wide spread of the COVID-19 (also known as “novel coronavirus”) and the financial consequences of various cities going into lock-down, we have decided to temporarily suspend automatic housing demolition,” the announcement said.
We’re in a state where it’s hard to generate much sympathy for anyone who would lose a virtual house while real life folks are losing their jobs, their well-being, and their lives. That isn’t the point of this post. Instead, I find it somewhat interesting, after years of video games being looked down on by older generations, the industry is ingrained in every day life to the point that there is some sort of mirroring effect going on. Evictions in real life get stayed, evictions in virtual life get paused. COVID-19 effects the real economy, COVID-19 effects the virtual economy.
This is interesting, but not meant to replace any of the real world work and danger that currently exists. Still, you have to wonder coming out of this whole ordeal whether we’ll see real world effects on entertainment choices as well.