“After close consultation with our partners in the game development industry and community around the world, we’ve made the difficult decision to postpone the Game Developers Conference this March,” said the organiser in an announcement. “Having spent the past year preparing for the show with our advisory boards, speakers, exhibitors, and event partners, we’re genuinely upset and disappointed not to be able to host you at this time.” GDC 2020 is set to be held in summer instead, and the organiser is “working with our partners to finalize the details and will share more information about our plans in the coming weeks.”
Epic Games, Facebook, Kojima Productions, Microsoft, Sony, and Unity all announced their withdrawal from the conference last month. At the time of writing, there have been over 89,000 cases of the novel coronavirus, and over 3,000 people have died from the disease. A significant proportion of the cases and fatalities are within China, but the popularity of the event and global travel required to get to San Francisco meant that many companies perceived the risk to their employees and attendees to be too great. Epic Games said that a presence at GDC 2020 was “unviable,” and Facebook’s Oculus said that it would be “removing our booth footprint and are advising all employees to refrain from travel during the show.”
Citing advice from “global health authorities,” all companies expressed their regret to be pulling out of the event, with some scheduling digital presentations of announcements that were to be made at GDC 2020. The organiser will be refunding conference and expo attendees’ passes in full, and encourages conference speakers to record their presentations and send them so that it showcase them on the GDC YouTube channel and the free section of the GDC Vault. The Independent Games Festival Awards and the Game Developers Choice Awards will now be streamed on Twitch during March 16 to March 20.