We spoke with the creators of Sinfeld Chronicles to figure out what the hell is going on with this game, which is basically Silent Hill in the Seinfeld universe.

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Sinfeld’s rendering of Jerry’s apartment. Somehow, from this angle, with no one inside, it’s actually really scary.

by Dom Nero via Esquire

Remember the early days of YouTube? Before all the ads and sponsored content, when you could start on a video of a dude falling off a trampoline and end up on something brilliant (and insane) like “Yummy Yummy Pizza” by Tonetta? Today, because of streaming television, there’s really no need for me to go cave diving on YouTube anymore. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss that novel joy of exploring uncharted—and strange—frontiers on the internet with friends. A few weeks ago, I got to recapture that old feeling, thanks to a game called Sinfeld Chronicles on Dreams for PS4.

Sinfeld Chronicles is a horror game set in the Seinfeld universe. You play as Donathan, an original character who claims to be Jerry Seinfeld’s nephew. He’s trapped in his uncle’s apartment building, alone—and he’s very scared. Something bad is happening in the Upper West Side. There’s a demon floating in the hallway. Kramer’s apartment has a haunted little doll inside it with a knife (Mr. Marbles!). Dead FBI agents lie in Jerry’s bathroom, and the world outside Jerry’s apartment near Monk’s diner is, well…I won’t ruin it for you.

Sinfeld was built completely on Dreams for PS4. Released in mid-February, Dreams is a video game that gives players the tools to create their own video games and then share them for anyone to play for free (if you own Dreams and an internet-connected PS4). Unlike make-your-own-game games like Rollercoaster Tycoon or Super Mario Maker, Media Molecule’s new title doesn’t do the work for you. If you want to build a house, you can’t just pick from a few templates. You have to make the walls yourself, texture them, paint them, and find a place for a door. This degree of control is unprecedented. And because you can really do anything—and everything—we’re finally seeing what video games look like when they’re made by players, not development studios.

Of course, like Sinfeld, the games on Dreams are every bit as forward-thinking and rambunctious as you’d expect. The Dreamiverse is full of mischievous little shit posts like Wario Dies in a Car Accident (legitimately funny), but I’ve found some stunning experiments like Sonic Dreams Adventure Zero, an unauthorized Sonic platformer that actually manages to get the 3D speed thing right in a way that Sega hasn’t really achieved yet.

But for my money, Sinfeld is the game to play on Dreams. I tracked down the creators of Sinfeld because, honestly, I just wanted to know why this thing exists. Turns out, the game is being developed by Austin and Colton Stock, the two brothers behind Rare Bird Interactive. They’re the outfit who made Lil’ Stevie Wanders, a bizarre animated web show that came out of the Channel 101 network (co-founded by Dan Harmon of Rick and Morty fame). “People always ask us, ‘how did you come up with this?’” Austin, the L.A.-based director and animator who voices Donathan, told me (fun fact: this guy was the video editor on Titanic 2). “We watched Seinfeld pretty much all the time. Since we’re Canadian, we’d have to drive up in an RV to Edmonton, and we would collect box sets of the DVDs, and we would watch the same episode over and over again.” He says Seinfeld is ingrained in their D.N.A.

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The outside world in Sinfeld is like something out of The Shining.

But just being fans of a snarky ‘90s sitcom doesn’t really explain how a game like Sinfeld came to be. Like that Tonetta video I mentioned earlier, there’s something strikingly dark about itIn one sequence, you’re forced to perform stand up for a vacant studio audience, and if you tell the wrong jokes, you die. In another, a disembodied voice guides you through the halls from the speaker on your controller. It also implies that Kramer went on a murderous rampage in the apartment building. (As of now, there’s no real “point” to the game other than exploration, but the guys told me there’s a lot more to come.)

“We’re huge fans of Hideo Kojima,” Austin says. The game is obviously influenced by Kojima’s Silent Hill spinoff title, P.T.where players wander around haunted passageways in the first person with a flashlight. “When [Kojima] made P.T., my first thought was, ‘Oh, this would be perfect for Seinfeld.’ There’s an apartment, there’s a hallway, it’s an entire playground.” Austin says the built-in awareness—and curiosity—we have for this place makes for a perfect video game setting. He’s right. I’ve always wanted to know what the inside of Kramer’s apartment looks like. What the hell is he hiding in there? A haunted doll, apparently. I almost wish I hadn’t looked.

Colton, the other half of Rare Bird, studied game design and programming along with film at USC. Working mainly in the Unreal Engine, a pretty ubiquitous tool for game developers these days, Colton said the Dreams toolkit came easy to him. Both of the guys have backgrounds in game development, animation, and film—they’re currently working with folks at Adult Swim on a full-fledged Lil’ Stevie series. But you don’t need a degree in game design, a background in visual storytelling, or anything, really, to build stuff on Dreams. “I think that companies need to look at what Dreams is doing and see that if you make a user interface that’s easy to use and fun to use, people will gravitate around it and they’ll actually want to use it,” Colton says.

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I would not recommend going into the bathroom at Monk’s diner.

When I first tried out some Dream Creation of my own, I found the process a little overwhelming—especially because it’s all done on a PS4 controller, no keyboard or mouse allowed. But Colton says, once you customize your settings a bit, things are smooth sailing. “At first I thought it’d be insane to work a program like that with a controller,” he told me. “But what’s really cool is I can go from flying around the level to clicking and typing things in without using my hands and thumbs too much. I can do a lot with the controller.” And most importantly, he says Dreams unlocks game development tools for players at less than a tenth of the normal price. “If you want to get a decent computer [for game design] that will last you the next five to 10 years, it’s about $3,000 when it’s all said and done.” Dreams isn’t even a full price video game. It’s $40.

The guys behind Sinfeld said they realized the potential for Dreams very early on. “It’s going to be a great stepping stone for people who are getting into programming or learning logic,” Austin told me. “The idea of opening a door was so daunting to me. But when I cracked open the logic it was like, ‘Oh, I get it. Player walks into trigger zone, presses square, and this happens.’ It teaches you the basic language of programming. If you start with Dreams as a kid, you could easily transition into Unreal Engine.” Apparently, the feeling of the early days of YouTube isn’t just experienced by the audience. Austin said Dreams reminds him of the “ground floor of YouTube,” those blissful few years when creators were flocking to the site to share their creativity just for the love of it. “Now,” Austin says, “we have a way for us to express our love for games.”

In the case of Rare Bird, that love manifests as the truly deranged Sinfeld Chronicles. I mean it when I say the game, which Austin and Colton told me will be periodically updated indefinitely (they’re adding combat! a story line! Ghostbusters stuff!) is already a Game of the Year contender for me. And Rare Bird is fundraising for a full-on interactive horror comedy game made on the Unreal Engine called “New York Simulator The Game: 1994 Edition.” Who knew wandering the halls of Jerry Seinfeld’s apartment could make for such a horrifying video game. And we haven’t even gotten the chance to visit Newman’s place yet.

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by Steven Petite via Digital Trends

Unless you are a serious collector, at some point, you’ve probably thought about getting rid of a few (or many) dusty old games. Whether you’re running out of shelf or closet space, getting ready to move, ready to acknowledge that you realistically won’t play them all, or want to fully embrace digital game libraries, there are plenty of avenues available.

Not all of them are great options, however. For games that still have some monetary value, most would like to maximize their return. Time is money, too, so convenience matters. For games you literally can’t give away, there is a way to dispose of them properly, rather than tossing them in a dumpster.

Let’s take a look at the best methods for getting rid of your old video games for profit, convenience, and eco-friendliness.

Sell ’em back: Yes, GameStop is still your best bet

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Sure, you’ve probably heard people complain about GameStop’s trade-in values in the past. While the business can justify sometimes marking up games 3x more than trade-in values (Mario, Zelda), it’s also understandable why this bothers some people. The bottom line, however, is GameStop generally offers a higher price per game than other major retailers.

Companies like Best Buy, Target, Amazon, and Walmart now buy and sell used games, but no one beats GameStop on the one metric that counts. GameStop is also the only major retailer offering cash for used games — all the rest offer store credit. You get 20% less if you take GameStop’s cash route rather than store credit, but even then, you’ll most likely wind up right around what you would receive for a pile of games at any of the other major retailers.

While selling your old games and consoles to GameStop won’t maximize your dollars, the convenience factor at least partially makes up for it. While we recommend using GameStop for convenience, that’s not to say that the company always gives the best value on every game. If you are only trading in one or two games, it’s best to do some research before choosing a place to sell your old games. GameStopWalmartTarget, and Best Buy list their trade-in values for each accepted game online. Amazon trade-in values are listed on product pages.

If you are selling older games from the pre-Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 era, GameStop is the only major chain that accepts “classic” titles. That being said, if you have a bunch of classic games to sell, you may want to consider our other options listed below, as you might possess, unwittingly or not, a rare title or two.

By and large, when selling used games to major retailers like GameStop, it’s best to bring in games for more modern systems like PlayStation 4Xbox OneNintendo Switch, and Nintendo 3DS.

Don’t forget about local retailers

Chances are, you probably live near a GameStop or big-box retailer that will buy your old games. There’s also a chance you live near a local retailer that specializes in multimedia products, like used games and DVDs. Not everyone has an independent game shop in their area, but if you do, these shops want to buy your old games for more money than what big-box retailers offer. Local retailers are also more likely to take older generation games and cartridge-based games off your hands.

Eliminate the middle man

If you don’t need to unload your unwanted games right away and you are willing to put a little extra effort into the process, becoming the seller yourself will almost always get you the best price.

In terms of online secondhand marketplaces, the first two that come to mind are eBay and Amazon. Both venues let you set your own prices, but you are responsible for packaging and shipping. For some, this may be more hassle than it’s worth. However, there is a considerably more convenient option that still allows you to set your price.

If you’re on Facebook (who isn’t?), sell your used games on Facebook Marketplace. Just create the listing, add photos, set the category, set your price, and publish.

You can also join a Facebook group dedicated to buying, selling, and trading. Given the local nature of each group, you can talk on Facebook, agree to a price, and meet up to exchange cash for games. You don’t endure nearly as many steps as it takes to list games on Amazon, let alone eBay. Facebook groups are also less sketchy than making deals via Craigslist. Always meet in a public space, however.

If you’re moving, perhaps it’s time to Decluttr

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Sometimes you don’t want to haul games to your local store and sell them. Sometimes you just want to box them all up and send them on their way. We get it. That’s where Decluttr comes in. It’s particularly useful when you are preparing to move, when you already have moving boxes and plan on downsizing other personal items as well, like books, DVDs, Blu-rays, electronics, and more.

Using the Decluttr app for iOS or Android, you can scan your games’ barcodes, print out a free shipping label, and send them off. When your games are received, the quoted amount for your lot is deposited into your bank account the following day. How much money can you expect per game? We found that while Decluttr doesn’t give the best rates for newer games (compared to GameStop), older games tend to fetch comparable amounts.

While we know Decluttr works well, there are other online options that may work better for you. NextWorth, which specializes in a wide array of electronics, is a reputable alternative that pays you via check or PayPal roughly a week after receiving your games. NextWorth doesn’t have a quick and breezy app, but if you aren’t selling a large collection, you may be able to get a few extra dollars, depending on which games you sell.

Another site, Cash For Gamers, also pays via PayPal or by check through the mail and offers hit or miss rates that sometimes exceed those found on Decluttr or Nextworth.

Donate and recycle

Let’s say you want to part with games that have little monetary value, or maybe you just want to clear some space, and don’t mind whether you get money back or not. In these situations, you may be tempted to just toss unwanted games in the trash or relegate them to a dark corner in the basement. Fear not: There are better options available.

First, if your games, consoles, and accessories are in working order, consider donating them to your local Goodwill. You can either visit a store to make donations or deposit your games into one of Goodwill’s many donation bins. There are also a growing number of gaming-focused charities that supply consoles and games to communities in need. These include Gamers Outreach, which donates consoles and games to children’s hospitals, and Operation Supply Drop, which sends consoles to men and women serving in the U.S. military overseas.

Your other alternative, if you so choose, is to simply throw away your games. We think it’s always better to find a new home for your collection, but if they really aren’t worth anything or they’re defective, throwing your games away is the logical conclusion.

As previously stated, throwing them in a dumpster — or even your recycling bin — isn’t great for the environment. If you want to dispose of your games properly, we recommend a few different options.

First, check e-Stewards, a company that has a high standard for recycling electronic products for both consumers and corporations. Look to see if there’s a recycling location near you that follows e-Stewards’ guidelines. Unfortunately, compliant locations aren’t found in every state, so there’s a chance that you won’t find one near you.

You can also recycle old video games and consoles at Best Buy. Bring them (or any electronics) to a local store, and they will discard them in an environmentally friendly way.

We’d also be remiss if we didn’t mention Nintendo’s free Take Back program. Nintendo accepts used consoles, games, and accessories for recycling. Nintendo will even recycle competitors’ consoles, as long as you have proof that you previously purchased a Nintendo console. That’s pretty cool.

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by Crystal Mills via Benzinga

As quarantine continues due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people are diving into video games in order to stay busy.

With movies, television, and sports leagues falling behind with postponed events and premieres, gaming has remained resilient.

Sports leagues such as the NBA, NHL, NASCAR, and Formula One have all transitioned into esports in order to help fill the void left by event cancellations. The number of viewers have skyrocketed, and so has the number of players.

Steam User Numbers Grow By Millions

The number of concurrent players on Steam skyrocketed in March. More than 20.3 million people were using the service. Out of these, 6.2 million were actively playing games.

Valve’s “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” was one of the titles to hit record numbers. The game hit 1 million players — the first time the game hit this record since its launch. Steam beat its own record just a week later, reaching a concurrent user number of 22.6 million.

“Steam just achieved a new peak concurrent user record of 22 million, one day after reaching 21 million and six days after reaching 20 million,” Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad said on Twitter.

“Global lockdowns and self-isolation due to COVID-19 has led to at-home gaming becoming a safe form of entertainment to pass the time.”

The numbers have continued to rise.

Xbox, PlayStation, Niantic React To Higher Traffic, Pandemic

The surge of players didn’t just affect PC services. Microsoft’s MSFT 0.01% Xbox Live suffered downtime due to an increased number of users.

“Usage is up on almost everything. Thanks go out to all the Ops/IT teams at all the companies that are working hard to keep everything running smoothly with all going on around them,” Xbox boss Phil Spencer said in a tweet.

Sony Interactive Entertainment SNE 0.79% also had to make changes due to a large influx of use on PlayStation. The company began slowing download speeds in an attempt to preserve bandwidth. New releases like “Final Fantasy VII Remake” have been unlocked for download as much as a week before their release date.

Niantic’s “Pokemon GO” has also made changes to help prioritize “features and experiences that can be enjoyed in individual settings.”

Trainers can see more Pokemon nearby to prevent the need to travel, and items like incense packs are available at a 99% discount. Incubators, which normally are powered by the number of steps a trainer takes, are now more effective.

“Trainers can hatch Eggs twice as fast,” Niantic told Polygon. With settings being revamped to encourage solo play, Niantic said it hopes to continue providing an accessible experience that promotes safety.

“While we’ve made these updates based on the current global health situation, we also encourage players to make decisions on where to go and what to do that are in the best interest of their health and the health of their communities.”

Gaming To Flatten The Curve

More companies are promoting gaming in order to encourage people to stay home. Amazon’s AMZN 0.01% Twitch livestreaming service and Activision Blizzard ATVI 1% are joining forces in a campaign called #PlayApartTogether.

“It’s never been more critical to ensure people stay safely connected to one another. Games are the perfect platform because they connect people through the lens of joy, purpose and meaning. We are proud to participate in such a worthwhile and necessary initiative,” Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said in a press release.

Even the World Health Organization, which classifies game addiction as a disease, is promoting gaming as a safe form of entertainment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ray Chambers, the WHO ambassador for global strategy, said he hopes the gaming industry can “reach millions with important messages to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

The need for at-home entertainment has attracted a surge of new gamers and players who haven’t touched a controller in years.

Consoles like the Nintendo (OTCPK: NTDOY) Switch have been selling out at major retailers like Best Buy BBY 2.37%, GameStop GME 14.39% and Walmart WMT 0.04%.

Third-party prices have skyrocketed on sites like eBay Inc EBAY 2.48% and Amazon. For those who were lucky enough to buy one, the Switch has been a vital resource during quarantine.

Anna Thomason, a Tennessee resident, is a self-titled casual gamer who lost the time to dive into gaming due to her college and work schedule.

Since the pandemic began, Thomason said she has been using video games to stay connected with friends.

“Most of my life I’ve played on a PC or handheld. I don’t have the patience to build a good PC rig and I’m not about to buy one. Plus my friends have [Nintendo Switches], so I bought the Switch Lite to get back into gaming and hang out with my friends since it’s not safe to see them right now.”

Coronavirus may have crippled traditional avenues of entertainment, but video games appear to be immune.

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Naughty Dog’s highly anticipated sequel won’t hit its May 29 release date.

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by Jonathon Dornbush via IGN

The Last of Us Part 2 is no longer set to be released on PS4 on May 29, Sony and developer Naughty Dog announced today.A tweet today from Sony confirmed “Update: SIE has made the difficult decision to delay the launch of The Last of Us Part II and Marvel’s Iron Man VR until further notice. Logistically, the global crisis is preventing us from providing the launch experience our players deserve.” The company followed the statement with “Currently, there are no other delays to report, but we’ll keep you updated.”

Naughty Dog also released a statement on Twitter about the delay, which you can read in full below:

As you’ve likely just seen, the release of The last of Us Part II has been delayed. We’re sure this news is just as disappointing to you as it is to us. We wanted to reach out to all of you in our community to give you a little more information.

The good news is, we’re nearly done with development of The Last of Us Part II. We are in the midst of fixing our final bugs.

However, even with us finishing the game, we were faced with the reality that due to logistics beyond our control, we couldn’t launch The Last of Us Part II to our satisfaction. We want to make sure everyone gets to play The last of Us Part II around the same time, ensuring that we’re doing everything possible to preserve the best experience for everyone. This meant delaying the game until such a time where we can solve these logistic issues.

We were bummed about this decision but ultimately understood what’s best and fair to all of our players. We’re hoping that this won’t be a long delay, and we’ll update you as soon as we have new information to share.

We wish you all, your families, and your friends the best of health. Thank you for being amazing fans and your continued support.

Stay safe!

The Last of Us Part 2 first received a release date of February 22, 2020 late last year, coupled with a story trailer and our first chance to go hands-on with The Last of Us’ long-awaited sequel.

Shortly after, Naughty Dog announced a delayed Last of Us Part 2 release date to May 29, with Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann saying “We realized we simply didn’t have enough time to bring the entire game up to a level of polish we would call Naughty Dog quality.” And recent reports have alleged that The Last of Us Part 2 led to sustained crunch at Naughty Dog rather than alleviating development crunch. 

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The Last of Us Part 2 was also supposed to have its first public hands-on at PAX East 2020, but due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19, Sony pulled out of PAX East.

Sony and HBO also recently announced that a The Last of Us TV show adaptation is in the works, set to air on HBO with Druckmann and Chernobyl executive producer Craig Mazin behind the series. (And the TV show will replace The Last of Us movie that was in the works.) No casting has been announced, but we’ve offered plenty of suggestions for who should play Joel and Ellie in The Last of Us TV show.

For more on the upcoming sequel, we spoke to Druckmann about Joel’s role in The Last of Us Part 2why The Last of Us Part 2 isn’t an open world game, as well as how dogs affect stealth and combat in The Last of Us sequel.

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by Ben Gilbert via Business Insider

While the coronavirus outbreak caused all “non-essential” businesses and services to pause indefinitely, GameStop, the world’s biggest video game retailer, kept its stores operating far longer than most and even argued its business operations were “essential” because they “enable and enhance our customers’ experience in working from home.”

The company only walked back standard operations on March 22, and introduced a “delivery at door” service where customers can order products online for pickup at the door.

Employees still working during the ongoing pandemic say that proper safety measures aren’t being taken to ensure they don’t get sick. According to a memo sent to GameStop managers and reported by the Boston Globe, employees were reportedly told to cover their hands am arms with plastic bags when interacting with customers.

“Lightly (you want to be able to get it off easily) tape a Game Stop plastic bag over your hand and arm,” the memo read. “Do not open the door all the way — keep the glass between you and the guest’s face — just reach out your arm.”

COVID-19 is spread primarily through respiratory droplets released when an infected person coughs or sneezes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Beyond disinfecting surfaces and washing your hands, the number one way to prevent catching or spreading coronavirus is through so-called “social distancing” — staying away from other people so you can’t breathe in their potentially infected droplets.

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A GameStop manager who spoke with the Boston Globe highlighted the discrepancy between those guidelines and what he’s being asked to do by his employer.

“I have to make a choice between doing a job that nobody needs during a pandemic and not being paid, and possibly infecting people or being infected,” he said.

Across the last year, the company’s stock value dropped by two-thirds — from about $15 in January 2019 to under $5 by January 2020 — and it reshuffled its C-suite.

Like Blockbuster Video and Tower Records before it, GameStop faces major challenges to its business model from the internet. As more people buy video games through digital storefronts, fewer buy games on physical discs from GameStop, leaving the company struggling to modernize its business.

GameStop representative Joey Mooring offered the following statement in response to our request for comment:

“With employee and customer safety as our paramount concern, we’ve closed all our stores to customer access. Where provided for by state and local directives, we are only processing orders on a digital basis through our new curbside Delivery@Door pick-up service. Only employees may enter our stores at this time. Importantly, all GameStop employees have been assured that they do not have to work if they are not comfortable, or need to stay home to care for a family member. While GameStop is best known as a provider of gaming and home entertainment systems, we also offer a wide array of products and devices that are important to facilitate remote work, distance learning, and virtual connectivity.”

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The measure should improve network stability as more isolated gamers go online.

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by Marc DeAngelis via Engadget

Earlier this week, both Sony and Microsoft announced that they would follow the lead of many streaming companies and limit the bandwidth of their gaming services in Europe amid the coronavirus pandemic. Today, Sony updated PlayStation fans, saying that it will take similar measures in the US. By capping download speeds, the company hopes to maintain network stability as more and more people resort to gaming to pass the time while social distancing. Sony says gamers should expect slower game downloads, but assures them that they will experience the same robust gameplay as normal. In other words, it sounds like Sony isn’t planning on throttling traffic for online games — just file downloads.

With the majority of people working from home and so many people killing time streaming music, movies and games, networks are hit with intense amounts of traffic. Hopefully these measures will help preserve network stability so people can continue enjoying them. Microsoft hasn’t announced any updates regarding Xbox’s network services in the US. That said, PlayStation gamers hoping to play Doom Eternal this weekend may want to start their download sooner rather than later, and Xbox gamers might want to download the game while Xbox Live is still operating at full speed.

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by Matthew Gault via Time

As many people around the world limit their time outdoors for fear of the coronavirus, one might think it’s a boon time for the video game industry, which can provide a form of entertainment that isolated people so desperately need.

But in reality, the outbreak could not have come at a worse time for the gaming business. Concerns over the virus, which can cause potentially deadly health complications, have led organizers to postpone a major industry event where designers often make big publication deals, potentially killing the next Fortnite in the cradle. Furthermore, it threatens to wreak havoc with the industry’s supply chain just as Sony and Microsoft, two of the industry’s biggest competitors, are gearing up to release their next big consoles later this year.

News that the Game Developers Conference, or GDC, was being rescheduled came down late Friday. “After close consultation with our partners in the game development industry and community around the world, we’ve made the difficult decision to postpone the Game Developers Conference this March,” reads a statement from the show’s organizers. “Having spent the past year preparing for the show with our advisory boards, speakers, exhibitors, and event partners, we’re genuinely upset and disappointed not to be able to host you at this time.”

While GDC isn’t as much of a public festival as, say, E3, it’s a hugely important event for those in the industry. Big-name games publishers will be largely unaffected by the show’s postponement, but it could be a massive blow to small indie developers. Many indie designers spend considerable amounts of energy and treasure banking on GDC as a means of striking a publishing deal or getting publicity. GDC’s organizers are refunding the cost of entry, but it may be harder for indie developers to claw back their airfare, hotel fees and other related expenses.

“For a lot of [independent developers], this is the one event they go to,” says Rami Ismail, co-founder of Dutch indie games studio Vlambeer. “This is quite a blow … this might be career ending.”

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It’s a blow to gamers, too: Ismail says the show’s postponement might mean some indie games that might have been the next big thing may never see the light of day. “If you’re an independent CEO who’s been working on a game for a year and a half, had money for a year, but pushed through on no money at all for a few months to get a build ready for GDC so that you can pitch a publisher … now all those games may be dead,” he says.

Keep up to date on the growing threat to global health by signing up for our daily coronavirus newsletter.

Still, some in the gaming business say postponing GDC was the right move. “It’s a good thing that companies prioritized keeping their employees safe even if some might consider the fears overblown,” says a senior employee at a major gaming studio who spoke with TIME on condition of anonymity for fear of alienating others in the industry. “I’m glad that GDC finally decided to defer the event, although it’s obviously still tough for anyone traveling there on their own dime, especially considering how expensive a badge is to begin with.”

And while the coronavirus is indeed causing a spike in short-term demand for video games and consoles, it could prove challenging for the industry to keep up. Nearly 90% of video game consoles in the U.S. were made in China — the heart of the coronavirus outbreak — according to Daniel Ahmad, a senior industry analyst at Niko Partners. As employees there are being kept away from work to avoid spreading the virus, it’s resulting in production shortfalls across all sorts of sectors, gaming included. Nintendo says it can’t make enough Switch consoles to meet demand, Facebook is having similar problems with its Oculus Quest VR headset, and Sony is preparing for a dip in PlayStation 4 production. Other technology firms outside gaming, like Apple and Huawei, are also struggling with supply chain issues amid the coronavirus outbreak; Apple supplier Foxconn has even begun making surgical masks.

Ahmad says that the gaming industry should be fine if the coronavirus outbreak can be “contained within the next month or two.” But Panos Kouvelis, a supply chain expert at Washington University in St. Louis, thinks the industry should prepare for the worst — especially as Sony and Microsoft are working to release their PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles, respectively. “Right now, the factories in China are trying to start ramping up, but they’ll be constrained by labor … so the ramping up is going to be rather slow.”

Kouvelis says that many of the factories making semiconductors, a key component of video game consoles, are highly automated, giving manufacturers confidence that they can avoid coronavirus-related shortfalls. But he also cautions that the virus could complicate Sony and Microsoft’s release schedule, though neither have yet indicated they expect any delays. “When you have these new product development cycles, there are things that aren’t that easy to substitute,” he says. “The impact on the industry will be significant.”

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