The Entertainment Software Association of Canada and our member companies remain committed to supporting our stakeholders as we adapt to the reopening of the economy and consistent social distancing practices in order to curb the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As video game creators and enthusiasts, we believe play is a profound part of the human experience and connects people and communities in important ways. Canadian gamers are using video games to socialize, stay connected, and to relax; we are encouraged by this and heartened by the power of play.
Here are resources, updates and more about how the video game industry is responding.
Reliable, up-to-date information on the current COVID-19 outbreak can be found at:
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Public Health Agency of Canada
- World Health Organization (WHO) Coronavirus Disease
How to Help
Help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by following public health advice:
- Practise social distancing.
- Practise proper hand hygiene.
- Wear masks or face coverings.
For an in-depth list of measures you can take to reduce the spread of COVID-19, visit Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Prevention and risks.
You can also show your support by:
- Donating to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the WHO.
- ESRB – for more on video game ratings and resources for parents
- What Parents Need to Know About Managing their Kids’ Video Games During the Pandemic
- ESAC Parental Tools – specific tools to help with parental controls
- Game Generation – a community promoting the value and power of play
- Take This – promoting mental health resources
- Xbox Family Settings – responsible gaming resources
- Family Settings on Xbox – tutorial video
Healthy Video Game Play Resources for Parents
Kids can use games as a means to stay in touch with friends during these uncertain times.
A message from ESRB President Patricia Vance:
As many of us find ourselves under orders to “stay-at-home” to help stem the coronavirus pandemic, playing video games can be a great way for families to have fun together and for kids to stay connected to their friends. Here are some simple steps that parents can take to make sure their children have a safe and age-appropriate experience.
Choose the Right Games for Your Family
Knowing which games are appropriate for your children is easier than you may think. If your child has asked to play or purchase a specific game, a good first step is to check the rating displayed on the product detail page. Parents can also conduct a search for the ESRB-assigned age and content ratings on esrb.org or our rating search app for iOS and Android by entering the game’s title. With our three-part rating system, you can quickly understand if a game is appropriate for your family. You can also review a game’s Rating Summary, which provides even more detail.
In addition to amplifying the #PlayApartTogether initiative to spread key messages from the World Health Organization, ESAC members and the video game industry have responded to COVID-19 in the following ways:
- The company behind ‘Call of Duty’ says it’s funding COVID-19 treatment research while it figures out how to produce video games remotely
- All Heroes of the Storm characters are free to play until April 2
- All StarCraft 2 co-op Commanders are free to play until April 2
- Overwatch League Matches Moving Online
- Call of Duty League Shifting Currently Scheduled Live Events to Online Competition
- World of Warcraft is doubling all XP gains to keep its players indoors
- Blizzard and Paradox arrange care packages for remote-working staff during coronavirus lockdowns
Electronic Arts (EA)
- Electronic Arts pledges up to $2m in match-funded support for COVID-19 relief
- Stay safe. Stay home. Play together.
- An EA Update on the Coronavirus Situation
- An Important Update on EA’s Upcoming Competitive Gaming Events
- UNICEF and Microsoft launch global learning platform to help address COVID-19 education crisis
- Donate to the CDC Foundation By Playing Xbox
- Responding to COVID-19
- A Message to the Gaming Community on What We’re Doing to Help Today
- Free Educational Content in Minecraft Marketplace!
- Nintendo donates 9,500 face masks to US emergency services
- The creators of Animal Crossing hope New Horizons can be ‘an escape’ in difficult times
Sony Interactive Entertainment/PlayStation
- Announcing the Play At Home Initiative
- Sony is setting up a $100 million COVID-19 global relief fund
- Preserving Internet access for the entire community
- Square Enix: Stay Home and Play
- Square Enix gives away 2 Tomb Raider games on Steam and asks us to ‘stay home and play’
- Rockstar Is Donating 5 Percent of In-Game Revenue to COVID-19 Relief Efforts
- Take-Two’s COVID-19 Response