After losing multiple major participants over the past few days, GDC has announced that the 2020 event will be postponed until "later in the summer" due to ongoing concerns about the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.
"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," reads an update from GDC's organizers. (opens in new tab)
"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."
In a separate tweet (opens in new tab), GDC organizer Simon Carless clarified that industry professionals who purchased passes to GDC will be receiving refunds in full. Those who reserved hotel rooms within the "GDC room block" will not have to pay penalties or fines for cancelling those rooms.
One GDC attendee shared an email they just received (opens in new tab), saying that refunds would be processed in "4 - 6 weeks." Though the conference itself is postponed, the organizers will be working to create online versions of some events.
While refunds for the passes is a start, many attendees will have to cover the cost of cancelling flights and hotel costs. To help offset the financial damage to individuals, Gamedev.world and others are organizing a fundraiser (opens in new tab).
The withdrawals began last week when Sony and Facebook announced that they would not attend the event. Electronic Arts and Kojima Productions pulled out earlier this week (opens in new tab), followed by Microsoft, Epic Games, Iron Galaxy Studios, Amazon, and Unity. San Francisco, where GDC was to be held, also declared a local health emergency this week in order to prepare to protect the city.
The coronavirus is also having an impact on events outside of GDC: Sony, Square Enix, Capcom, CD Projekt, and PUBG Corp all pulled out of PAX East (opens in new tab) (which is now underway in Boston), and earlier today CCP Games announced that EVE Fanfest 2020 will be cancelled (opens in new tab). Multiple game tournaments, like IEM Katowice, have also had to deny access to the public, opting to continue as an online only event.
Game Developers Conference is the largest developer-facing event of its kind in North America. It's only open to industry professionals, but the event hosts presentations and exhibitions from many of the largest game companies in the world who use the conference to promote new games, discuss industry-facing events, and share knowledge. The event also hosts the Game Developers Choice awards, celebrating the previous year's top indie games.
For more information on what's happening, following along with our comprehensive overview (opens in new tab) of the impact of the coronavirus on the videogame industry. For more information on the Covid-19 coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control (opens in new tab) for updates in North America, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (opens in new tab), or the World Health Organization (opens in new tab).
This story is developing. We'll continually add more information as it becomes available.