Enlarge /. The status of GDC 2020 on February 28 at 3 p.m. (East). Most of the main sponsors have withdrawn.
To update: The GDC threw in the towel on Friday, February 28, at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. "After in-depth consultation with our partners in the game development industry and the community around the world, we made the difficult decision to postpone the game developer conference in March this year," the organization wrote in an update.
"We are really upset and disappointed that we cannot host you at this time," the update continues, adding that the organization "fully intends to host a GDC event later this summer," which they report More information will be available in the coming weeks.
Registered attendees with GDC 2020 passports will receive emails with information on the next steps for getting refunds. Participants who have booked hotel reservations through the GDC hotel portal or in GDC room blocks do not have to pay any penalties or fees for canceling these reservations.
Much of GDC's content, including many presentations that would have been given live, the Independent Games Festival and the Game Developers Choice Awards, are either uploaded to the free area of the GDC vault or made available as a live stream on Twitch. GDC added. Our original story about the status of the GDC on Friday afternoon is listed below.
Attempts to curb and stem the spread of the novel coronavirus disease COVID-19 are causing chaos on travel plans around the world, and the annual game developer conference is no exception. The majority of the main sponsors for GDC 2020 in San Francisco have withdrawn just over two weeks before the event is scheduled to start on March 16. At the time of publication, however, the event was not yet completed, which raises the question: what would it take to cancel the GDC?
On February 28 (Friday), the GDC released an update saying, "We are monitoring the COVID19 situation (coronavirus) closely and would like to assure everyone that your health and safety are top priorities. If our assessment of the situation changes, based on to new ones. " If developments or updated information evolve, we will update this GDC 2020 status statement promptly. "
Sony and Facebook both retired on February 20, the first falling domino. Since then, further cancellations have followed quickly. EA and Kojima Productions both resigned on February 24th, then Unity, Microsoft, Epic Games (and Unreal Engine) left on February 27th, followed by Amazon and Activision / Blizzard on February 28th.
Most of these companies are not only important moderators and presences at the conference, but also important sponsors. While the companies that have withdrawn make up only a small fraction of the total number of planned exhibitors, they occupy an oversized area at the fair – in the truest sense of the word. A map of the exhibition space, on which the planned stand area of companies that have canceled has been darkened, looks terrible:
Enlarge /. There are absolutely no digital dragons here because the companies that render them don't come. (From 3 p.m. East, Friday, February 28)
GDC isn't the first event that has to make the go / no-go call given COVID-19, and it won't be the last. The world's largest telecommunications show, the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Spain, was canceled earlier this month after providers withdrew. The Geneva Motor Show was also canceled after Switzerland temporarily banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people. Even smaller gatherings are not immune: the Eve Online Fanfest planned for April in Evekjavik was canceled, as was the Facebook-owned F8 developer conference, which would have started on May 5.