After weeks of speculation, the Game Developers Conference (GDC) announced Friday that it’ll be postponing this year’s event in San Francisco.
The move comes after multiple large companies pulled out this week, citing fears surrounding the coronavirus. Sony and Facebook were two of the first to announce they weren’t attending. Just today, Activision Blizzard, Amazon, and Gearbox announced they were pulling out.
“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,” the organization posted in a statement. “We’re genuinely upset and disappointed not to be able to host you at this time.”
GDC did add, however, that it plans to hold a “GDC event” in the summer. It’ll have more details in the future, but it’s unclear at this point if it’ll be a full event.
An FAQ sent to press and on the official website, it says that current paid attendees will get an email about refunds and registration status. In a separate email, the GDC Event Team said that “paid registrants will be receiving a full refund within 4-6 weeks.” It also says it plans to make many of the talks that would’ve been given at the event free online as part of the GDC YouTube channel or in the Vault. Speakers can submit their talks.
Additional info: pic.twitter.com/GgUTL0dUc3
— Official_GDC (@Official_GDC) February 29, 2020
It’s worth noting that a lot of companies will be holding online events of their own for their speakers.
GDC, while a huge place for companies and developers to network, is also an outlet for indies, specifically with the Independent Games Festival (IGF). It also hosts the Game Developers Choice Awards (GDC Awards) during the week. The FAQ also said that the company intends to stream the IGF and GDC Awards via Twitch during the week of the now-postponed event.
The event was supposed to take place on March 16-20 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Originally, the only people affected by the coronavirus outbreak were companies and attendees from China, but the spread of the disease greatly impacted more organizations.
Many groups are now helping to raise funds to help those who can’t get refunds on travel, visa, and hotel costs. GameDev.World, a global game conference held online, announced the GDC Relief Fund. It’ll also feature a pay-what-you-want games bundle and game jam to help raise money. The International Game Developers Association (IDGA) also announced it was pairing up with GameDev.World.
“With the effect of COVID-19 on conferences and international travel, many companies and developers have not only lost business opportunities and access to valuable talks, but their critical funds invested in travel, booth space, and passes to pursue these opportunities,” IGDA executive director Renee Gittins said in a statement.
This is also not the first tech event that’s been canceled on account of coronavirus anxieties. Mobile World Congress was canceled back in February. Just this week, Facebook’s annual F8 conference and EVE Fanfest were also canceled.