The annual Game Developer’s Conference may still happen in 2020, but it’s not going to be in mid-March anymore.
Growing public concern over the coronavirus prompted the annual San Francisco trade show’s organizers to pull the plug ahead of their March 16 start date. In a statement released Friday night, GDC organizers said that they would “postpone” the gathering until “later in the summer.”
The decision came on the heels of numerous pullouts, as major companies like Microsoft, Sony, Epic Games, Facebook, and Amazon (among many others) confirmed in recent weeks that they’d be bowing out. The new coronavirus, which is formally known as COVID-19, hasn’t infected huge numbers in the United States yet, but there are signs that that’s changing. (The CDC already said it’s “inevitable.”)
The GDC email notes that passholders who were planning to attend will be getting a separate email about “next steps” regarding refunds, which will be given “in full.” Separately, some as-yet-unknown number of planned presentations from the show will be made available online for free. The organizers are also looking into getting guest speakers to submit video versions of their planned talks.
Unlike E3, the annual GDC trade show is built more around digging deep on the actual practice of making games. Talks and workshops explore the various disciplines that are tied to game development and publishing. There’s also a big piece of the show that’s geared around recruitment and hiring.
Even though it’s more of an industry-focused event, GDC is still often a place where publishers and studios of all sizes come to reveal what they’re working on. Mid-March may still bring an onslaught of such news, but it won’t be against the backdrop of a bustling trade show.
As of now, GDC organizers haven’t said anything more specific about the timing or makeup of a possible summer version of the show. Like many things tied to this new coronavirus, a lot of those decisions will probably hinge significantly on how the illness continues to spread and whether or not the arrival of spring – and the formal end of cold and flu season – slows it down.
The full text of the GDC statement follows:
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.
Having spent the past year preparing for the show with our advisory boards, speakers, exhibitors, and event partners, we’re genuinely upset and disappointed not to be able to host you at this time.
We want to thank all our customers and partners for their support, open discussions and encouragement. As everyone has been reminding us, great things happen when the community comes together and connects at GDC. For this reason, we fully intend to host a GDC event later in the summer. We will be working with our partners to finalize the details and will share more information about our plans in the coming weeks.
For more information, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page: www.gdconf.com/faq