- Facebook, the Facebook-owned Oculus, and Sony will no longer attend the 2020 Game Developers Conference due to health and travel concerns caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
- GDC 2020 is scheduled to be held in San Francisco’s Moscone Center from March 16 to 20.
- Facebook had already cancelled an event it had planned at the Moscone Center one week earlier.
- A statement from GDC said the event would include additional on-site measures to prevent the spread of disease, and the organizers said they were confident the event would remain successful.
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Facebook and Sony have announced that they will no longer attend the 2020 Game Developers Conference due to concerns caused by the coronavirus outbreak. GDC 2020 is scheduled to be held in San Francisco’s Moscone Center from March 16 to 20, with thousands of attendees representing every facet of the video game industry.
Facebook, and its virtual reality subsidiary Oculus, were scheduled to sponsor multiple events and panels during the conference and will work to schedule online sessions to compensate for the cancellations.
“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 Developers Conference due to the evolving public health risks related to COVID-19,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.
“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.”
Facebook recently announced that it would cancel its own annual Global Marketing Summit due to coronavirus concerns. That event was also scheduled to take place in San Francisco’s Moscone Center a week earlier, from March 9 to 12.
A Sony spokesperson said the company was prioritizing safety concerns as countries enact travel restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The company had previously announced that it would not participate in PAX East, a Boston-based gaming event running from from February 27 to March 1, over similar fears.
“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),” Sony’s statement read.
“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.”
The show will go on
However, amid these high-profile withdrawals, GDC organizers said that they’re still planning to hold the event as planned — with the proper precautions in place.
“The GDC team is following developments around the Novel Coronavirus closely as we take the health and safety of our game development community very seriously,” the event’s organizers said in a statement.
“Following the strict quarantine laws put in place by the US government and guidance from the Department of Public Health, WHO and CDC, which has seen us put in place enhanced on-site measures, we are confident that the Game Developers Conference will follow in the footsteps of other large and successful international events taking place at the Moscone Center.”
The coronavirus has killed more than 2,000 people and infected more than 75,000 worldwide, based on the latest reports. While most cases have impacted China, deaths have been reported in South Korea, Iran, Hong Kong, the Philipines, Japan, Taiwan, and France. The United States has 15 reported cases of infection so far.
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