Growing concerns over the coronavirus global emergency are resulting in more event cancellations in the gaming industry. The Game Developers Conference 2020 is the world’s largest professional gaming event meant for developers and publishers, but many of them are withdrawing in favor of private events.
You can find a full list of the current companies backing out of GDC below, as more and more companies back out ahead of the event week March 16-20.
Microsoft hosts its own event
Fresh off of new details for Xbox Series X, Microsoft announced it will not be at GDC. It originally planned for in-depth looks 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 blog post.
Fortunately, there will be a replacement for any news and sessions that would have taken place at GDC 2020. Microsoft will hold its own event that same week, from March 16 to 18. The digital-only livestream will be available on the Game Stack website and is set to feature game dev sessions, new experiences, and more.
The current schedule also includes panel discussions about cloud gaming and next-gen hardware like the Xbox Series X. Fans can even tune in to see behind-the-scenes looks of popular Xbox-exclusive series like Gears of War. The entire three-day event will be livestreamed and available on demand afterward.
Here at Epic we were excited about participating in GDC 2020. Regrettably, uncertainty around health concerns has made it unviable to send our employees, and so we have made the difficult decision to withdraw attendance.
Stay tuned for Epic news and more through other channels.
— Unreal Engine (@UnrealEngine) February 27, 2020
“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 posted on Twitter.
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 is possible that some of the reveals will include major news regarding the popular dev engine that is used for titles like Fortnite, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and Borderlands 3.
Sony Interactive Entertainment revealed it won’t be attending GDC 2020. The company is putting the “health and safety” of its global workforce first and, therefore, not attending. Sony plans on attending the conference in the future, but no replacement event was announced in the meantime.
This is in addition to Sony’s withdrawal from PAX East, too. There, attendees were going to have a chance to check out The Last of Us Part II. Fans may have to wait longer now for more news regarding PlayStation 5 because of all this.
Kojima Productions has made the difficult decision to cancel our participation at the 2020 Game Developers Conference due to increasing concerns related to coronavirus. (1/2)https://t.co/K6FJtq5Tpx
— Kojima Productions (@KojiPro2015_EN) February 24, 2020
Kojima Productions will not attend GDC either. As such, the anticipated panel between Death Stranding creator Hideo Kojima and AI programmer Eric Johnson won’t happen either. It is possible that Kojima would have revealed more information regarding recent cryptic teases for Death Stranding, but we will have to wait and see for now.
Facebook Gaming and Oculus
With “evolving public health risks” a concern in the world right now, Facebook Gaming, including the Oculus VR team, withdrew from GDC. The announcements planned for the event, however, will still happen through a series of videos, online Q&A’s, and more.
All Chinese exhibitors
The GDC organizers announced recently that all Chinese exhibitors are prohibited from attending the event this year due to the coronavirus concerns. Their only options now are to either send North American personnel on their behalf or wait until GDC 2021. This affects 10 of the more than 500 companies participating, or roughly 2% of all attendees.
Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order publisher Electronic Arts backed out of GDC and advises that its employees not travel to the event, according to a statement given to PC Gamer. However, it is still hosting the annual EA Play event during the week of E3 at this time.
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.”