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Gaming ticks 'social distancing' boxes

A businessman in Apia has recommended people consider gaming as an option to promote social distancing amidst fears over coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

Francis Ah Wong, who owns a gaming hub called, Push Play, says gaming ticks all the boxes in terms of protecting yourself from potential COVID-19 infection.

“Gaming at home is pretty good. It keeps you at home, it keeps you safe. It is also another way of socializing with friends online,” he told Samoa Observer in an interview. “You can contact them and stay at home as well.”

Having control over the gaming console and ensuring the gadgets are kept at home ensures family members do not move around.

“Once the lockdown began, I took all the consoles and controllers home to make sure my little brother stays home. I didn’t want him going to his friend's place while he can stay safe and socialize from his own room through gaming,” he added.

Push Play closed its doors to gamers following the declaration of the state of emergency (S.O.E.) and the commencement of the lockdown, with Mr. Ah Wong emphasising that the health of the public is a top priority for him.

“I really wanted to open the place last week but didn’t want the kids to be at risk. Last week, the kids and their parents called us top open and asked if we were open but we told them that we are so sorry,” he said. 

“For me safety is first, just stay at home and be safe. Better to be safe than sorry.”

However, due to the unavailability of gaming consoles and PCs to members of the public, the businessman recommends mobile gaming as another option during the lockdown.

Mr. Ah Wong also runs an esports team called Hero Clan comprising local gamers, but the lockdown has thrown the spanner in the works of their preparation, as communication is difficult with members staying in different areas.

“We didn’t have any training last week due to the lockdown. We have been talking and deciding what to do so we are thinking of playing from home," he said.

The team often posts content on various social media platforms and are currently planning to upload more during the lockdown as some people prefer to watch their content.

“We are thinking of doing something for this lockdown as well. Like some people want to watch us gaming while they stay at home,” he said.

Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, more gamers are live streaming their content on social media for the public to watch. 

When asked by Samoa Observer if his team will stream any future matches, he said they cannot stream as internet connectivity is slow, but it could be considered in the future when connectivity improves. 

“We don’t want to take the risk of streaming from home because the internet in Samoa is not really that strong, but we are willing to stream if the internet improves," he added.

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