GDC 2020 Postponed Over Coronavirus Concerns – Road to VR

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After a string of cancellations by larger vendors amidst the worldwide coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), this year’s annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) has been officially postponed.

GDC organizers announced the decision late Friday in a news briefing, saying that the mid-March gathering in San Francisco, which typically includes both a vendor expo and developer talks, will instead take place at some point later in the summer. Exactly when, we’re still not sure.

Registered passholders should expect an email regarding full refunds, the organizers say, adding that people who made hotel reservations inside the GDC room block won’t pay penalties or fees associated with their reservations.

GDC organizers say that many of the developer presentations that would have been given at the conference will be available for free online via YouTube and the free section of GDC’s video vault. Event organizers have also planned to stream a number of GDC 2020 developer talks as well as the Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Choice Awards via Twitch during the March 16 – 20 conference time slot.

“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,” event organizers say. “We want to thank all our customers and partners for their support, open discussions and encouragement. As everyone has been reminding us, 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. We will be working with our partners to finalize the details and will share more information about our plans in the coming weeks.”

GDC is one of the largest developer conferences for the industry; last year the gathering saw a record-breaking 27,000 attendees across both its developer talks and expo area. Although important to the games industry at large, it plays a significant role in the growth of virtual reality specifically, as GDC has historically been a venue for many ‘VR-firsts’, namely the unveiling of Oculus Rift S in 2019, the unveiling of Project Morpheus (aka PSVR) in 2014, the price and availability of PSVR in 2016, and the debut of countless VR games from indies and big industry players alike.

Before the postponement, a litany of companies stepped back from GDC 2020 such as Epic, Microsoft, Unity, Sony, Electronic Arts, Facebook, and Kojima Productions. The city of San Francisco, where GDC was set to take place, also issued a state of emergency only a few days prior.

This follows two other high-profile convention cancellations, namely Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2020, which was supposed to take place in Barcelona in late February, and Facebook’s own F8 developer conference, which was slated to kick off in early May in San Jose, CA.

Stay up to date with further developments of COVID-19 by visiting the World Health Organization’s website.

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