Coronavirus has over 75,000 confirmed cases worldwide in 20 countries. The health crisis has disrupted the games industry, resulting in postponed game releases, such as The Outer Worlds port to Switch. Some competitive leagues, such as the Overwatch League, have had to rearrange their schedules due to the crisis.
Despite canceling its appearance to the show, Facebook still plans to make announcements digitally during GDC, particularly for its virtual reality company Oculus.
“Out of concern for the health and safety of our employees, our dev partners, and the GDC community, Facebook will not be attending this year’s Game Developer Conference due to the evolving public health risks related to covid-19,” a Facebook company spokesperson told Gamesindustry.biz. “We still plan to share the exciting announcements we had planned for the show through videos, online Q&As, and more, and will plan to host GDC partner meetings remotely in the coming weeks. We continue to collaborate with UBM, GDC’s parent company, and our partners, and thank them for their efforts.”
Sony provided a statement to Gamesindustry.biz as well, which reads: “We have made the difficult decision to cancel our participation in Game Developers Conference due to increasing concerns related to covid-19 (also known as coronavirus). We felt this was the best option as the situation related to the virus and global travel restrictions are changing daily. We are disappointed to cancel our participation, but the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern. We look forward to participating in GDC in the future.”
Exhibitors from China have had to cancel or shift plans, and GDC organizers said “around 10” of the 550 companies partaking in the conference have been impacted by coronavirus concerns.
In an online statement published Thursday, GDC wrote: “We believe that, based on the strict U.S. quarantine around coronavirus and a large number of enhanced on-site measures, we are able to execute a safe and successful event for our community.”