After numerous publisher/developer dropouts due to coronavirus concerns, GDC 2020 has officially been postponed to the summer.
After several weeks of uncertainty, March’s GDC 2020 has been postponed until further notice. The statement was made today on their website and Twitter.
Important GDC 2020 Update https://t.co/EoReMGtZJJ
— Official_GDC (@Official_GDC) February 29, 2020
GDC’s official website was briefly down due to high traffic, so a screenshot of the statement has been provided.
This cancellation seemed somewhat inevitable, as high profile attendees have been withdrawing from the event steadily throughout the last few weeks. Sony and Facebook dropped out on March 21st, with Kojima Productions following suit days later. Microsoft announced their withdrawal from GDC on Match 27th, and Epic Games withdrew only yesterday. PAX East — which is currently taking place in Boston — saw numerous last-minute withdrawals, such as Sony and Square Enix’s Final Fantasy 14 team. I fully expect to see similar stories and cancellations surrounding June’s E3 event in the coming months.
Still, there was speculation that GDC 2020 would continue regardless. The list of exhibitors number in the hundreds, with many smaller indie companies looking to gain exposure or share their interesting developments. Public eyes may be drawn to the activities and announcements of the triple-A companies, but it’s the indie developers in attendance that benefit the most from discussions and networking on the show floor.
Nonetheless, it’s not entirely doom and gloom for GDC. As per their statement above, a replacement event is intended to be held during the summer. Furthermore, Microsoft has stated that its panels, announcements, and exhibitions will be broadcast digitally between March 16th and 18th. Scheduled announcements regarding consoles and games will no doubt find their way to players through other methods.
Coronavirus/COVID-19 is certainly proving to have an impact on the entire world, not just the game’s industry. There’s even rumblings that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are under threat, with the World Health Organization advising Japan to monitor the situation closely. Not to alarm anyone, but that’s kind of how Akira starts… In all seriousness, be sure to stay safe, stay hygienic, and follow the advice of the WHO and CDC as the situation continues. DualShockers will keep you updated on further coronavirus updates in the industry, as well as future GDC news.