GDC 2020 is postponed

The Game Developers Conference (GDC) has been postponed until later this year.

Kojima Productions, Sony, EA, and Facebook – which owns Oculus – recently pulled out of GDC, as have 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, although GDC stopped short of citing the virus as the reason for the cancellation.

In an announcement entitled “Important GDC 2020 Update”, the organisers said: “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.

“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.”

Attendees can expect a refund in full, and those who had made hotel reservations via the organisation will be able to cancel hotel travel without penalty. Sadly, developers who’ve arranged their own accommodation might still be open to cancellation fees. 

Participants may wish to make their contributions in video format, which GDC says it will share online for free.

The world’s biggest mobile phone show, Mobile World Congress (MWC), was cancelled after organiser GSMA said that fears concerning the coronavirus outbreak made it “impossible” for the event to proceed.

Other developers confirmed they had to revise their PAX East plans, too. Consequently, Marty Walsh, the mayor of Boston – which is the US city that hosts PAX East – sent a letter to Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida stating that the decision to pull out of the convention only served to reinforce “harmful stereotypes that generations of Asians have worked hard to dismantle”, stating it was going ahead with the show in order to “dispel these harmful and misguided fears”.

“The IGDA strives to ensure game developers can successfully pursue their dreams,” said Renee Gittins, executive director, IGDA. “We support the personal growth of game developers, the betterment of the game industry, and also work to help developers overcome the many challenges in the industry and the world.

“With the effect of COVID-19 on conferences and international travel, many companies and developers have not only lost business opportunities and access to valuable talks, but their critical funds invested in travel, booth space, and passes to pursue these opportunities. In light of this, the IGDA would like to announce a partnership with GameDev.World to support both affected and all developers worldwide.

“The IGDA is partnering with GameDev.World’s online event and fundraiser to alleviate the financial burdens on developers affected by the outbreak of COVID-19,” Gittins added. “In addition to providing financial relief, this event will supply education opportunities via free talks about important game development subjects. Attendees across the globe will be able to hone their expertise and knowledge.

“The IGDA is also partnering with Take This, a trusted leader in mental health practice in the game industry, to develop new materials and standards of support and professionalism to ensure the success of developers. This partnership will provide trusted resources for sustainable development practices by improving human resource practices and leadership development across the game industry.”

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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