Nintendo employee contracts coronavirus, co-workers put in quarantine

Gabe Gurwin

The coronavirus — officially called COVID-19 — has made its way to Nintendo of America. An employee at the company’s Redmond, Washington, headquarters tested positive for coronavirus and its coworkers are being quarantined.

Nintendo is allowing its employees in Washington state and California to work from home and said those quarantined are doing so as a precaution. This is regardless of whether they have symptoms, according to the Seattle Times.

“Nintendo of America is supporting this individual as they recover and will continue to take precautions to safeguard the health and well-being of all our employees and the broader community,” Nintendo added.

Last month, Nintendo suffered coronavirus setbacks in Japan, and the Animal Crossing: New Horizons special-edition Switch console was delayed, though the issue did not affect other markets and the console arrived on time in North America this week. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is scheduled to launch March 20 and its release is also unaffected. Players have even taken to Nintendo’s support forums to request the game’s early launch.

With Nintendo employees working from home, it should mitigate the infected person’s chance of spreading it further. However, there is a growing list of game industry setbacks and issues directly caused by the coronavirus. This includes a delay for The Outer Worlds on Switch, giving anyone staying at home fewer options to keep themselves entertained.

E3 2020 has already been canceled as a precaution, though Nintendo’s pre-recorded Nintendo Direct presentation format means it will likely be able to make the same announcements it was planning before. Other companies like Microsoft, Square Enix, and Ubisoft will also be making digital announcements in place of traditional E3 press conferences. Sony and Electronic Arts were already not planning to attend E3 2020, and it isn’t clear when or if they will have similarly large presentations to show off upcoming games or hardware.

As coronavirus continues to spread worldwide, Nintendo’s exercise game Ring Fit Adventure is surging in popularity. Resellers are listing the game for far more than its standard $80 price, as exercising in a public gym with other people could increase the chance of infection. The game has grown particularly popular in China, where the virus originated several months ago.