Game Developers Conference 2020 Postponed Over Coronovirus Fearsby Tristan Oliver February 28, 2020
In a first for the more than 30 year history of the Game Developers Conference–and potential sign of things to come for other high profile industry events as concerns about the spread of novel coronavirus increase around the world–the conference will not go on as planned in San Francisco next month.
“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,” reads a statement on the GDC website that crashed the page when it was posted.
That means a panel on the success of the Genesis Mini, in which Sega’s Yosuke Okunari and M2’s Naoki Horii were to attend, will not go on as planned. GDC organizers say they are working with conference speakers on possibly recording presentations and posting them online.
Several companies, including Microsoft and Sony, had withdrawn from participating in this year’s event out of abundance of caution for their employees. Sony also withdrew from PAX East this year as did other exhibitors, but the event is currently underway.
GDC organizers say they will be “working with [their] partners” to put on a GDC branded event in the summertime, but did not elaborate on where or when that would take place.
“We fully intend to host a GDC event later in the summer,” reads the statement.
The announcement comes as mayor of San Francisco, where GDC is held, pre-emptively declared a state of emergency for the city earlier this week in an effort to proactively contain the spread of the virus. There are no confirmed cases in the city as of the time of this article’s publication.
There has, however, been some unrest in Asia as the virus has spread. In Japan, prime minister Shinzo Abe will on Saturday detail plans to close down public schools across the country during the month of March, in an effort to curb the spread of the virus. The prefecture of Hokkaido, where the most cases in Japan have been reported, has already declared a state of emergency through March 19th. And while some events related to the buildup of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo have been canceled, the Games themselves have not, and the IOC has said there are no plans to do so.
Here’s what the organizers of E3 told me about the GDC cancellation, and whether it will impact E3. No changes right now. pic.twitter.com/etwWpIivkb
— Patrick Klepek (@patrickklepek) February 29, 2020
Organizers of E3 have afforded a statement to VICE’s Patrick Klepek, assuring that for now, it is full steam ahead for the gaming industry’s biggest event in June.