Both Mojang and Electronic Arts have cancelled live events in response to the COVID-19/coronavirus crisis.
“Our partners, producers, and exhibitors are based in all corners of the world, and right now we can’t meet and collaborate in the way we need to,” Mojang said in a statement (thanks, GI.biz), confirming Minecraft Festival – which wasn’t scheduled to take place until September in Orlando, Florida – has been cancelled.
“Without knowing exactly when we can resume planning, we have decided to postpone. That way, we can make sure that next year’s event will be the amazing one that our community expects and deserves.”
EA, on the other hand, is cancelling a number of competitive events, including its Apex Legends and FIFA global competitions. As yet, there’s no confirmation on when the events will be rescheduled but the company says it “will be making an update in the near future”.
“These decisions haven’t come easy, but given the large, global nature of these events, we believe that making these changes are in the best interest of protecting the health of the community, including competitors, attendees and staff,” EA said. “As we continue to monitor the situation around the coronavirus and receive guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organisation, we’ll continue to evaluate and provide more updates as it relates to all of EA’s competitive gaming events.”
The Game Developers Conference (GDC) has been indefinitely postponed, and while attendees can expect a refund in full and those who had made hotel reservations via the organisation will be able to cancel without penalty, developers who’ve arranged their own accommodation might still be open to cancellation fees. 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.
Kojima Productions, Sony, EA, and Facebook – which owns Oculus – first pulled out of GDC, as did Microsoft, Epic, and Unity. The city of San Francisco – the city that was set to host the upcoming GDC conference next month – had also declared a “local health emergency” over coronavirus. A state of emergency has also be declared in Los Angeles, but at the time of writing, E3 2020 is still scheduled to go ahead.
Both Bungie, Microsoft and most recently Nintendo have implemented mandatory home working in a bid to protect staff from COVID-19 in the worst-affected cities in the US.