Looks like both PlayStation and Facebook (Oculus) have announced neither will attending the Game Developers Conference (GDC 2020) due to concerns for COVID-19, the coronavirus. GDC 2020 is scheduled to take place from March 16 – 20,2020.
For Sony PlayStation, this would be the 3rd convention they have canceled, with PAX East being canceled a few days ago. The company provided s statement regarding this recent change of plans, one that’s similar to what they provided for PAX East 2020:
We have made the difficult decision to cancel our participation in Game Developers Conference due to increasing concerns related to COVID-19… We felt this was the best option as the situation related to the virus and global travel restrictions are changing daily. We are disappointed to cancel our participation, but the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern. We look forward to participating in GDC in the future.”
Facebook Oculus, who has been a major component of GDC 2020 for the past several years, has also provided a statement for why they’re also pulling out of GDC 2020.
“Out of concern for the health and safety of our employees, our dev partners, and the GDC community, Facebook will not be attending this year’s Game Developer Conference due to the evolving public health risks related to COVID-19,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “We still plan to share the exciting announcements we had planned for the show through videos, online Q&As, and more, and will plan to host GDC partner meetings remotely in the coming weeks. We continue to collaborate with UBM, GDC’s parent company, and our partners, and thank them for their efforts.”
GDC has responded that despite both companies pulling out, the event will continue as planned. Though, similar to PAX East, this will leave a sizable hole and the presence of two large companies will be noticed.
The GDC team is following developments around the Novel Coronavirus closely as we take the health and safety of our game development community very seriously. Following the strict quarantine laws put in place by the US government and guidance from the Department of Public Health, WHO and CDC, which has seen us put in place enhanced on-site measures, we are confident that the Game Developers Conference will follow in the footsteps of other large and successful international events taking place at the Moscone Center. As always, we thank the GDC community for their support and look forward to welcoming back those who haven’t been able to join us this year.
This cancelation will be the 3rd gaming event that will have been impacted by the Coronavirus. With the Taipei Game Show and PAX East 2020, both seeing major companies pulling from the events. As growing concerns continue to rise, these cancelations likely won’t be the last. It hasn’t just affected conventions, as the CODIV-19 has also caused production issues for Nintendo, while Facebook Oculus hasn’t shipped any new Oculus Quest headsets from China since the outbreak began.