Develop:Brighton 2020 is still going ahead, says organiser

The organiser of Develop:Brighton 2020 says it is “working towards holding the event as planned”.

“Owing to the ongoing COVID-19 / Coronavirus crisis we have been receiving enquiries about the status of this year’s Develop:Brighton,” the organisers, Tandem Events, said in a statement. “The health and safety of our visitors is paramount and therefore we are monitoring the situation closely, taking advice from Public Health England to ensure we do what is in everybody’s best interests.

“As Develop:Brighton 2020 is taking place in July we are working towards holding the event as planned. However, we are evaluating this situation on a daily basis and will continue to do so over the coming weeks.

“In the event that we do have to cancel Develop:Brighton then we will let the community know as soon as possible and offer all delegates a refund on their passes.”

Bethesda boss Todd Howard will be delivering the headline keynote at Develop:Brighton 2020. Howard will open the second day of the conference – which takes place from Tuesday 14th to Thursday July 16th at the Hilton Brighton Metropole – on Wednesday, July 15th and, later that evening, be recognised for his outstanding achievements by receiving the 2020 Develop Star award. Last year’s recipient was Hello Game co-founder, Sean Murray.

Develop:Brighton 2019 was attended by more industry professionals than ever before, with attendance up a record-breaking 21 per cent year-on-year. The event welcomed 2871 delegates across 100+ sessions and ten tracks at the conference, as well as 2,800+ additional meetings that were additionally set up through the bespoke Meet@Develop meeting scheduler.

Less than a week ago, organisers of E3 – the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) – insisted it was continuing to “plan for a safe and successful” show later this year whilst “actively assessing” the coronavirus outbreak. Now E3 2020 has been cancelled, as has EGX Rezzed, GDC, and both Mojang and Electronic Arts have cancelled scheduled live events.

Bungie, EA, Nintendo and now Rockstar have all implemented homeworking to minimise staff exposure to the virus whilst Pokémon Go developer Niantic has made changes to the game to enable players to continue participating even whilst in self-isolation. BAFTA has also confirmed it’s revising the format on its upcoming Games Awards in light of the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), too. 

A number of publishers have teamed up to create GDC Relief Fund to assist indie devs who may have lost money on paying in advance for the now-cancelled GDC.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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