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GDC 2020 Postponed Due To Coronavirus Following Numerous Dropouts

Microsoft, Sony, EA, and many other companies had already announced they would not attend.


Recent weeks have seen numerous companies from the games industry--both big and small--drop out of this year's Game Developers Conference. This all stems from concerns related to COVID-19, more commonly known as the coronavirus, sparking speculation that the event itself could be canceled. Although the event hasn't been canceled, less than three weeks before it was scheduled to begin, GDC 2020 has officially been postponed and will now take place "later in the summer." A more specific date has not been revealed.

"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," a statement on the GDC website reads.

"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."

GDC had been scheduled for March 16-20. Currently registered paid pass holders will be receiving an email about their registration status as well as details on the next steps regarding the refunds. GDC has said that "conference and expo attendees will be receiving [a refund] in full." Those that have made hotel reservations inside the GDC room block won't have to pay penalties or any fees associated with their reservations. More information about this will be provided soon.

Refunds for flights and accommodation not booked via GDC, however, are subject to the respective company's policies. In many cases, they will be non-refundable.

Speakers will still be able to participate in the event if they wish, and GDC intends to make the presentations available online for free. Of course, this requires speakers to deliver their talks in video format, which isn't guaranteed. Similarly, some part of the Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Choice Awards are set to be streamed on Twitch.

As noted above, even prior to GDC's decision, many companies opted to bow out of the event themselves. This included some of the industry's biggest players, including Sony, Microsoft, EA, Epic, Unity, Activision Blizzard, and many more. A number of companies also elected not to attend PAX East 2020 in Boston, but that event is nonetheless still taking place this weekend.

Various companies in and out of the games industry have also been canceling their own events. Eve Fanfest 2020 and several Capcom Pro Tour stops are no longer taking place, while ESL Pro Tour Masters Championship opted to forgo having a crowd in the arena. Meanwhile, Disney and Universe have opted to close several parks in Asia, and there is the potential for this summer's Olympics to be impacted, although a decision on that front doesn't need to be made until May. Two major events, the mobile industry's MWC and Facebook's F8, have also been canceled. There has been no word on any potential effect on E3 2020, which takes place in June.

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