Growing concerns over the coronavirus, officially named Covid-19, have come to the 2020 Game Developers Conference.

GDC, which takes place from March 16-20, 2020 brings developers, publishers, and others, in the gaming industry together, but many companies are withdrawing in favor of private events this year, including notable players like Sony, Microsoft, and Electronic Arts. That’s all in addition to the numerous disruptions impacting game companies and players alike.

These are all of the companies that have pulled out of GDC so far.

Microsoft Xbox

Fresh off new details for Xbox Series X, Microsoft announced it will not be at GDC. It originally planned an in-depth look at the development process for its first-party studios along with demonstrations.

“After a close review of guidance by global health authorities and out of an abundance of caution, we’ve made the difficult decision to withdraw from participating at Game Developers Conference 2020 in San Francisco,” Xbox stated in a Game Stack post.

Fortunately, there will be a replacement for any news and sessions that would have taken place at GDC 2020. Microsoft will hold a digital-only livestream on its Game Stack website packed with feature game developer sessions and panel discussions on cloud gaming and next-gen hardware like the Xbox Series X, which would have likely been highlights of its GDC attendance. There will also be plenty of behind-the-scenes looks at popular Xbox-exclusive series like Gears of War.

The entire three-day event will be livestreamed and available on demand afterward.

Epic Games

Fortnite developer Epic Games revealed its own “difficult decision” to pull out of GDC on Twitter.

“Regrettably, uncertainty around health concerns has made it unviable to send our employees, and so we have made the difficult decision to withdraw attendance,” Epic tweeted.

Like Xbox, Epic Games will make up for its GDC absence in other ways. It encourages fans to keep an eye on “other channels” for any upcoming news. Given that the Unreal Engine account posted the announcement, it’s possible that some reveals will include news regarding the popular development engine used for titles like Fortnite, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and Borderlands 3.

Sony PlayStation

Sony Interactive Entertainment, the team behind PlayStation and its first-party games, revealed it won’t be attending GDC 2020, either, saying it’s putting the “health and safety” of its global workforce first. Sony, which remains quiet despite preparing for the launch of its new PlayStation 5 console in mere months, has not given details on a replacement event.

Sony withdrew from PAX East over the coronavirus, as well, after separately announcing would skip E3 for the second year in a row. The E3 decision was not due to the coronavirus, but it leaves Sony with few opportunities to deliver more information on the PS5.

Fans expected Sony to show off The Last of Us Part II, its highly-anticipated sequel, at PAX East, but no word yet on when console details may come.

Kojima Productions

After the success of Death Stranding, Kojima Productions will not attend GDC. That means the anticipated panel between Death Stranding creator Hideo Kojima and AI programmer Eric Johnson won’t happen, either. It’s possible Kojima planned to reveal more information regarding recent cryptic teases for Death Stranding, but further information remains to be seen.

Facebook Gaming and Oculus

Citing similar  “evolving public health risks,” Facebook Gaming, which includes its Oculus VR team, withdrew from GDC. The announcements planned for the event, however, will still happen through a series of “videos, online Q&As, and more.”

Oculus already announced production of the popular wire-free headset Quest faces worldwide back-orders. The high demand for the Oculus Quest

All Chinese exhibitors

After international travel restrictions prohibited Chinese exhibitors from attending GDC 2020, organizers announced they would allow affected companies to join GDC 2021. Alternatively, those Chinese companies can send North American personnel on their behalf. This affects 10 of the more than 500 companies participating, or roughly 2% of all attendees.


In addition to formally backing out, Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order publisher Electronic Arts advised that its employees not travel to the event, according to a statement given to PC Gamer. However, there is no word on whether or not this will affect its future events like EA Play, which takes place in June during the week of E3.


Popular engine development company Unity posted on its blog that it won’t be attending GDC in order to ensure that no Unity “employee or partner compromise their health and safety unnecessarily.”

Similar to EA, United advised employees not to attend, either. However, the hard work it already poured into GDC will not go to waste. Like many others, it plans to post details online and intends to return to GDC next year.

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