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Gaming offers connection amid COVID-19 social distancing

Video games have always been a source of solace in tough times for Rosemary Kelley.

Now, as everything across the U.S. is being shut down and slowed down, the 25-year-old has her game controller in hand again. 

“I originally had every single weekend booked, and now I have nothing,” she said. 

For Kelley, an esports caster and host for games like “Pokémon,” “Overwatch” and “Hearthstone,” the worsening coronavirus pandemic has led to a halt in bookings and an array of cancellations for events. The Game Developer’s Conference, known as GDC, supposed to happen in March is now postponed to the summer. Big gaming convention E3 scheduled for June was called off until 2021.

A person holding a video game controller.

“Now I’m spending a lot more time just playing games for fun because I don’t have the same level of commitments,” said Kelley.

In her newfound free time, Kelley plays multiplayer games like Pokemon Sword and Shield and Animal Crossing on her Nintendo Switch. 

Once a part-time gaming streamer, Kelley has since increased her streaming time from two to three times a week to nearly every day. “It’s been an outlet for me to be creative but also to keep my mind working,” she says. 

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