Officials for the Game Developers Conference have confirmed that the show is cancelled for now. After many major game publishers abandoned plans to attend the show as worries over the spread of the coronavirus mount, GDC has been forced to postpone the show until later in the year.
“After close consultation with our partners in the game development industry and community around the world,” the organisation behind the event writes on the official site, “we’ve made the difficult decision to postpone the Game Developers Conference this March.” The statement adds that “we fully intend to host a GDC event later in the summer. We will be working with our partners to finalize the details and will share more information about our plans in the coming weeks.”
GDC was set to take place between March 15 and March 20 in its usual venue of San Francisco, California. Over the past week, a wide range of companies preemptively cancelled their GDC plans, including Activision–Blizzard, Microsoft, Epic, Sony, Unity, Amazon Games, Facebook (and Oculus), Kojima Productions, and EA. Publications like Game Informer and Polygon have also officially announced that they’re skipping the show.
San Francisco is a hub for tech and game development in the US, but GDC is a very international event, leading to worries that the convention would be a particular problem for the health and safety of representatives across the game industry.
GDC’s ‘wait and see’ approach also sparked criticism, as developers who footed the travel bills for themselves were left in limbo for a show that was increasingly looking like a bust. A minisite called Is GDC Cancelled Yet? cropped up as people awaited official word on the show’s status.
Please reconsider your refund policy for folks who are deciding not to attend your conference in order to prioritize their health and wellness. Many developers spend their hard earned money to attend, and they shouldn't be punished for their caution.
— ᴀᴅᴀᴍ ʙᴏʏᴇs (@amboyes) February 27, 2020
Other parts of the game industry have been affected, too. CCP has cancelled Eve Fanfest 2020. Major CS:GO tournament IEM Katowice is going on without an audience. Games like Path of Exile 2 are facing delays as many Asian developers are advised not to come into the office. Of course, the greatest concerns are for the health of individuals – and it’s good to see the industry prioritising health over sticking to existing plans.