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In early March, a data-savvy employee at the game studio Blizzard Entertainment started taking a hard look at rising number of U.S. COVID-19 cases, which then numbered in the low hundreds.
“We were able to do some math and say, looking at the China and Italy data, this is going to affect us very dramatically,” says J. Allen Brack, Blizzard’s president.
Within days, Blizzard, a unit of gaming giant Activision-Blizzard, asked groups of its designers, programmers, and other staff to work from home temporarily. They thought of it as a test, meant to refine the organization and infrastructure needed to keep creating video games, just in case things got really bad.
And of course, things got really bad.
“It was pretty damned fast,” says Blizzard executive John Hight. … Read the rest...