GDC (Game developers conference) is one of the most significant events in the gaming industry. Game developers from around the world gather and talk about the future of gaming. The event also includes game announcements, dev talks, and gaming booths. In a nutshell, GDC has been one of the most critical gaming events (after E3) since its inception in 1988. GDC caters to a variety of game industry professionals and journalists. Last year the event hit a record attendance of 29,000 people.
This year’s GDC conference has been postponed due to the growing concern around the Coronavirus outbreak that is affecting the better half of the world. The event was expected to take place in San Francisco from 16th to the 20th of March. In a blog post, the GDC has announced that after close consultation with the partners, they have decided to postpone until later in the summer. They also said, “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.”
– all tickets refunded (will take time to process)
– speakers invited to submit their talks for them to be distributed free online in the coming
– some events will be organised still, but purely online, streamed on Twitch pic.twitter.com/JYw7EjD7E6
— Thomas Bidaux ✨ (@icotom) February 29, 2020
Before blaming the organizing company Informa, we must realize that many gaming companies have already announced that they will not be sending their employees due to the outbreak. These companies include Microsoft, Unity, Epic, Electronic Arts, Kojima Productions, Amazon, Facebook, and Sony. All of the attendees from China also shifted their schedule to 2021. The presenters from China also decided to bow out of the conference.
According to 9T05 Google, Google the company behind the cloud gaming service Stadia did not announce that it will be bowing out of the GDC. However, after hearing that GDC is postponed, the company decided to convert its event into a digital experience. It is not the first time a company has decided to turn to a digital event structure, Nintendo has been doing it for years, and SONY chose to employ the digital structure which it calls “State of play” when it decided to opt-out of E3 last year. Although, the reason behind Google’s approach is the Coronavirus outbreak.
The exhibition company Informa intends to refund the cost of tickets. However, it is unclear if a system will be placed to transfer the tickets when the event is held “later in the summer,” or simply the attendees will get a refund. It is also worth mentioning how GDC would be able to pack such a feature-rich event into an already packed summer of gaming. We already have E3 in June and Gamescom in August both fo these are also expected to be affected by the Coronavirus outbreak.
GDC is not the first event that was affected due to the outbreak, events like PAX East lost many of the exhibitors. Mobile World Congress, which is one of the biggest events around the smartphone trade industry, was canceled earlier. Facebook also canceled its F8 developer conference, which was scheduled for the 27th of February.
Lastly, the team behind the Gamedev.world announced a fundraiser to raise money for the developers who have spent fortunes planning to attend the event. The fundraiser will start at the end of March and will go on for the week. It will help alleviate the burdens of the marginalized developers.
Many developers have spent a significant amount of money on travel, hotel, & visas to go to a cancelled GDC.@gamedevworld is announcing fundraising efforts March 28th-April 3rd for the GDC Relief Fund to help alleviate marginalized developers' burdens. https://t.co/TqJIMZJgyY
— gamedev.world (@gamedevworld) February 29, 2020