Epic Games, Microsoft, and Unity will not be present at the Game Developers Conference in March, because of the increasing concerns about the coronavirus outbreak (via Gematsu).
Facebook, Kojima Productions, and Sony also made the choice to pull out of the event earlier this week. Epic Games claimed that attendance would be “unviable” due to the risk towards its employees, and Microsoft came to the conclusion after a “close review of guidance by global health authorities and out of an abundance of caution.” Unity said that to have a physical presence at the event would “compromise [the] health and safety” of attendees, partners, and employees “unnecessarily,” and all three companies expressed that the decision was a difficult one.
Instead, Epic Games, Microsoft, and Unity will be hosting a digital showcase of announcements and content that was intended to be revealed at GDC 2020. Epic Games will post on its official channels, and Unity will detail its course of action “in the coming weeks.” Microsoft will be streaming a digital event from March 16 to March 18 on its website, and it will feature “the majority of our planned game developer sessions and experiences, which will be streamed live and available on demand.” It will include technical talks and demos on cloud and game development technologies, panels with industry giants, and deep dives into the Xbox Game Studios projects.
The organiser of GDC 2020 said that, though disheartened by the departures, it “take[s] the health and safety of our game development community very seriously.” On-site measures informed by “strict quarantine laws put in place by the US government and guidance from the Department of Public Health, WHO and CDC” will ensure that GDC 2020 is a “healthy event.” GDC 2020 will go ahead from March 16 to March 20 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California, and the organiser “looks forward to welcoming back those who haven’t been able to join us this year.”