The Game Developers conference, otherwise known as GDC, has been postponed due to concerns about the spread of the Coronavirus, the organizers announced Friday.
“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,” the organizers said in a statement.
Though the organizers described the action as postponement, no specific plans have been announced for a rescheduled conference, and refunds have been offered to ticketholders.
The conference was scheduled to take place March 16-20 in San Francisco. Earlier this week, most of the gathering’s key names — including Microsoft, Epic Games, Unity, EA Games, Sony and Gearbox — announced they had pulled out due to concerns about exposure to coronavirus during the packed event. Approximately 29,000 people attended in 2019, according to the organizers.
Santa Monica-based Activision Blizzard announced it would skip the conference just hours before it was postponed.
“This was not an easy decision to make, as the conference is and has always been an important event for our developers,” Activision tweeted, adding, “we look forward to participating in the future.”
The health and well-being of our teams is our highest priority, and due to growing concerns related to COVID-19, Activision Blizzard is asking employees not to attend this year’s Game Developers Conference as we continue to monitor the situation.
— Activision Blizzard (@ATVI_AB) February 28, 2020
A GDC spokesperson said conference speakers will be given the option to still participate in the event by recording videos of their lectures, which will be made available for free on the GDC website and YouTube channel.
“We also intend to stream a set of these GDC 2020 talks and the Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Choice Awards via Twitch… so that our community can continue to honor & celebrate its best games,” the GDC added.
The GDC spokesperson also said all attendees will be able to receive full refunds for tickets and some may be exempt from penalties or fees associated with hotel reservations.
“Great things happen when the community comes together and connects at GDC. For this reason, we fully intend to host a GDC event later in the summer,” the organization said, adding it will share more information about its plans in upcoming weeks.
Though organizers didn’t note it in their statement, the decision to postpone GDC 2020 comes on the same day a second coronavirus case of unknown origin — meaning it can’t be traced to a known infected person — was discovered in Santa Clara County, just south of San Francisco and location of Silicon Valley.