You can still hang out with friends during COVID-19 pandemic, in video games

Animal Crossing players
People hanging out with friends in video games
Image for Assignment 2
People hanging out with friends in video games Image: Andrew Webster

Story topic & Angle

My news story is focusing on people’s social needs during social distancing in the background of the worldwide padameic of COVID-19.

Social needs become a much more serious issue when people are self-isolation in many countries and regions than usual.

It has drawn many concerns so that institutions in various countries are implementing counselling or mental health services to help people come over this difficult period.

While in fact, video games make a huge contribution to solving this issue, as an open and safe window for people to breathe the air of being connected with others.

So not only stocking food and supplies, people are stocking video games. Anyway, people have plenty of time staying at home during lockdown, why not?

The sales of Nintendo Switch were more than doubled in March 2020 in the US than in March 2019, making it the biggest hit the gaming console history. PS4 and Xbox one sales in the US also have a dramatic growth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This news story is going to give insight into the new socializing way – online video game and how it helps people fulfill social needs during COVID-19 pandemic, or in bigger words, sustain the society.

Chosen genre

News Feature. As news feature is a good option to thoroughly look through a topic. With the feature writing style and less time-dependent reporting, a story could be told and reviewed in various angles with nourishing details.

Chosen publication & Target user group

Vice is the chosen publication for this news story. Becuase Vice is a publication focusing on youth culture and pop culture, it has an innovative nature to run after non-mainstream topics and angles which youth and youth-adult would love to read. The idea that video games make contributions in fighting against COVID-19 pandemic would draw Vice‘s interest.

As mentioned, this news story is tailored for youth audiences. As Vice‘s media kit reports, 76% of Vice‘s users ages from 18 to 34 years old. This segment of audiences are ususally interested in pop culture, and in fact, they are the major purchasing power of video games.

Source of information

Related information would be collected through these methods:

  • interviews of people currently sticking at home using video games to feel connected
  • related media coverage
  • statistics of video games, including number of sales, peak numbers of online players, numbers of online player at the same time etc.
  • social media posts about playing video games during isolation

Ideas for multimedia, hypertext & interactivity

Images of the trending video games such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons will be used in this news story to draw audiences’ interest.

Stress-lifting short videos about friends enjoying online video games could be used to help narrative the story.

Online questionaires could be set to enhance interactivity, e.g. What video games are you playing during isolation, choose from: serveral options.

Here is a short video that can help learn about why video games can fulfill social needs:

About Jingming Li 3 Articles
(Future) Writer, creator, film critic, man with appetite. (Now) Nerd.


  1. Hi Jingming,

    I think this is an interesting topic that is buzzing all over social media right now. I have also been playing Animal Crossing whilst in self-isolation and it’s been a great way to connect with friends and build a sense of global unity. Your choice of publication and target user group is appropriate given the fact that this game seems to be a huge trend among young people.

    I would also recommend interviewing an expert, perhaps a psychologist or a sociologist, to comment on your point about how the game might fulfill social needs or contribute to how we communicate and interact with each other. You mentioned using statistics of video games, but it’d be good to also list the sources or research institutes you would get this information from.

    Your feature image is very eye-catching and appealing, but I saw that you have linked the ‘creator’ without listing any permissions/license to use. I’d also suggest making your embedded links open in a new tab to prevent navigation away from your post. Overall, your blog post is very scannable, with good use of subheadings and white spacing.

    I like your ideas for multimedia and interactivity, and I can’t wait to see what they look like in your final project!

  2. Hi Jingming! This story sounds fascinating, and I’d really look forward to reading it if the pitch is accepted. It sounds like you have a source of information lined up, and it should be interesting to hear their stories.
    Your pitch is current that in this special period people have to find a way to connect with other people. Since Nintendo shortage has become a phenomenon is our life, readers can relate through proximity, and your data of the dramatic growth shows your pitch is impactful. From the above, we can see your pitch is newsworthy.
    Besides people who currently stick at home using video games to feel connected, I would include an interview with an expert to get the authentic view. Since the timeline in Animal Crossing is based on the same with our real life, we can ask questions from game studies perspective.
    All in all, your pitch has a good angle and your story is very interesting!

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