In a statement today Facebook has confirmed that due to the current worldwide situation involving the coronavirus the company has decided to cancel its annual F8 conference which was due to take place in May.
In a statement, Facebook has said: “Given the growing concerns around COVID-19, we’ve made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person component of F8 2020.
“This was a tough call to make — F8 is an incredibly important event for Facebook and it’s one of our favorite ways to celebrate all of you from around the world — but we need to prioritize the health and safety of our developer partners, employees and everyone who helps put F8 on. We explored other ways to keep the in-person part of F8, but it’s important to us to host an inclusive event and it didn’t feel right to have F8 without our international developers in attendance.”
So while the in-person event will no longer be taking place in San Jose, CA, Facebook is planning to replace the main conference in other ways: “through a combo of locally hosted events, videos and live-streamed content.” More details will be released soon.
While it might be called the Facebook Developer Conference, the event had become a platform for lots of virtual reality (VR) news, most notably during F8 2019 when both the Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest pre-orders went live.
The cancellation of F8 2020 continues a growing trend within the industry due to fears over spreading the coronavirus. The annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Spain was cancelled after multiple companies pulled out and many have done so already for the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in March. Facebook, Unity, Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), Electronic Arts and Kojima Productions have confirmed they won’t be attending but the organisers are still going ahead at present.
If you want to keep abreast of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation the World Health Organisation has a map tracker putting the total cases at 82,539, with 2,812 deaths recorded. Most of the cases are in China, centred around Wuhan where the outbreak occurred. So far 47 countries have confirmed cases. VRFocus will continue its coverage of GDC 2020, reporting back with further updates.
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