game developers conference GDC 2020

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GDC 2020: Game Developers Conference postponed amid coronavirus fears

The Game Developers Conference (GDC 2020) has been postponed due to the growing concern about the international coronavirus outbreaks. Here’s what you need to know.

game developers conference GDC 2020

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The GDC 2020, which was scheduled to take place from 16 to 20 March in San Francisco, will now take place later this year. The new date for the GDC 2020 will be made available in due course.

Companies that cancelled

Several companies – including Sony, Microsoft, Epic Games, Unity, Activision Blizzard, Amazon, and Facebook – cited health concerns due to the international spread of the coronavirus.

GDC organisers said in a statement that it was a “difficult decision to postpone the Game Developers Conference, […] having spent the past year preparing for the show”. They added:

“We’re genuinely upset and disappointed not to be able to host you at this time [and] want to thank all our customers and partners for their support, open discussions and encouragement. […] We fully intend to host a GDC event later in the summer. We will be working with our partners to finalise the details and will share more information about our plans in the coming weeks”.

Live streaming to go ahead as planned

All registered conference and expo attendees will receive full refunds for badge purchases. In addition, conference speakers will be able to make their planned GDC presentations available for free online.

Speakers are also invited to provide their talk in video form, which will be added to the GDC YouTube channel and the free section of the GDC Vault.

Furthermore, the associated award shows – the Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Choice Awards – will be streamed on Twitch during the week the event would have taken place.

Statements from leaders in the industry

Epic Games said in a statement that they were excited about participating in GDC 2020. However, the team added that “uncertainty around health concerns” forced them to cancel:

“Regrettably, uncertainty around health concerns has made it unviable to send our employees. We have made the difficult decision to withdraw attendance”.

In addition, Microsoft said its Game Stack team would not attend GDC 2020 “after a close review of guidance by global health authorities and out of an abundance of caution”.

Instead, Microsft plans to hold a digital-only event from 16 to 18 March 2020. The team will feature the majority of their planned game developer sessions and experiences”.

The event will be streamed live and available on-demand. Furthermore, Activision and Blizzard issued independent statements about their decision to withdraw from GDC.

“The health and well-being of our teams is our highest priority. Due to growing concerns related to COVID-19, Activision is asking employees not to attend this year’s Game Developers Conference as we continue to monitor the situation. This was not an easy decision to make; the conference is and has always been an important event for our developers. We look forward to participating in the future.”

Meanwhile, Blizzard also cancelled their appearance, stating that “due to growing concerns related to COVID-19, the health and well-being of [their] teams is our highest priority”.

Lastly, Death Stranding developer Kojima Productions and Sony Interactive Entertainment also cancelled plans to attend GDC.

More than 29 000 game development professionals attended GDC in 2019, according to organisers.