Game developers and Covid-19: a double-edged sword

How members of local Groningen game developer cooperative, The Game Bakery, are adapting to the harsh realities of the coronavirus pandemic

The Game Bakery’s office space was converted into a Covid-19 testing site by the Gemeente Groningen. Photo: Bouw & Facility

Members of The Game Bakery, a Groningen based game developer cooperative, are experiencing the chaotic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in vastly different ways.

The cooperative, which is a mix-match of solo professionals and small game development teams, were asked to relinquish their office space in a time span of less than a month in the third quarter of 2020, remarks Gerben Grave, narrative specialist, and The Game Bakery’s chairman.

For Gerben, despite the inevitable disruption of the move and the hassles of finding a new collaborative space for the collective on such short notice, transitioning into both a new office and what has become a contactless society was manageable. Others in the cooperative, however, have faced more severe consequences as a result of the pandemic.

“His business just collapsed overnight,” says Gerben, in reference to one of The Game Bakery’s members whose company focused mostly on games for festivals and other live events. Luckily, Gerben notes, the cooperative’s collaborative nature allows for its members to work with one another on projects, providing much needed income for those affected more severely by the pandemic.

Protecting the members of the cooperative is imperative for Gerben, who, in accordance with government regulations, works mostly from home, to allow other members of the collective who “really need to be there” access to the new office space.

One such member of the cooperative is Gidi van Liempd, a game hardware specialist, who primarily focuses on the development of custom sensor technology. Much like Gerben, the mid-pandemic sprawl for a new office space proved to be a hassle for Gidi’s workflow.

“The most impact is in my daily work routines,” says Gidi, who notes that without access to The Game Bakery’s collaborative office space, he would struggle to effectively work on his current projects due to poor Internet access at home.

In that sense, The Game Bakery acts as a bastion for its members, providing security through its ‘stronger together’ mentality, while providing safe, collaborative spaces for efficient workflow. In the case of The Game Bakery’s members, adaptability remains key going forward, especially amidst the influx of tightening restrictions on movement in the Netherlands.

The Game Bakery moved to its new office location in late 2020

Check out Gerben’s website to learn more about upcoming his project, Eloquence.

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