Following recent, recurring news of developers and companies withdrawing from the event — following increasing concern of the global outbreak of COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus — UBM TechWeb, organizers of the Game Developer Conference, have officially announced that this year’s event has been postponed until further notice. No new date has so far been provided though UBM state their intention is to reschedule sometime this summer. “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…” a statement on the event’s website reads. “…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.”
In regards to the conference’s planned talks and presentations — a staple of the Game Developer Conference — organizers have reassured that for those speakers whom agree to provide a video format of their talk, presentations will be provided for free via GDC’s official YouTube channel. As for the Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Choice Awards, two events that run as part of the grander GDC schedule, UBM confirm they will attempt a set of livestreams to air on Twitch the week that the event would’ve taken place in (March 16 – 20). Media Indie Exchange, or MIX for short, which also runs parallel to GDC every year, will also be going ahead on Monday 16th with accompanying livestream.
But safe to say it hasn’t been the best of years for seasonal events and conventions. While PAX East has had its share of absentees this year (though has still gone ahead), it’s GDC that appears to have been hit most with Sony, Oculus, Microsoft, EA, Kojima Productions, Epic and Unity all expressing their intentions to keep their presence at the event to a minimum this past week if not completely absent. Who knows how this will impact future events this year, if at all, with focus as always inevitably moving beyond North America (E3 not too far away), to Europe (Rezzed, Gamescom) and Asia (Tokyo Games Show) alike.