Coronavirus fears prompt GDC to reschedule to late summer

    
19

If it isn’t obvious already, just about nobody is messing around with the rapid global spread of the coronavirus. On top of multiple studios pulling out of PAX East this weekend and CCP’s move to shut down Fanfest this year, the Game Developers Conference just announced that it will be postponing its event until “later in the summer.”

“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,” the organizers 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.”

GDC’s organizers said that they are “intending to make many of the presentations that would have been given at GDC 2020 available for free online.”

This announcement follows the withdrawal of several companies from the event, including Blizzard, Facebook, Sony, Microsoft, and Amazon. The conference was originally slated to run from March 16th through the 20th in San Francisco. Even though the virus hasn’t hit the city yet, San Francisco announced a state of emergency over the threat, with local businesses already seeing the impact.

More on the coronavirus’ impact on the gaming industry:

Source: GDC
Update
IGDA is trying to help smaller devs and studios affected by the cancellation. Here’s the core of the statement from Renee Gittins, Executive Director, IGDA:

“With the effect of COVID-19 on conferences and international travel, many companies and developers have not only lost business opportunities and access to valuable talks, but their critical funds invested in travel, booth space, and passes to pursue these opportunities. In light of this, the IGDA would like to announce a partnership with GameDev.World to support both affected and all developers worldwide. The IGDA is partnering with GameDev.World’s online event and fundraiser to alleviate the financial burdens on developers affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. In addition to providing financial relief, this event will supply education opportunities via free talks about important game development subjects. Attendees across the globe will be able to hone their expertise and knowledge.”

newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Sam Black

This is rough for my union brothers and sisters putting on the convention too. We do all the AV and building, and it’s a big chunk of yearly money for us. Not only has GDC been canceled, but several other big conventions as well. This virus scare has been hurting everyone and, looking at what I’ve been reading from the cdc, it’s way overblown.

Reader
3dom

Good luck with that date. Late summer will be the peak of the pandemic outbreak.

camren_rooke
Reader
camren_rooke

When this stuff merges with Worcestershire sauce we’ll all be pink-eyed zombies by late summer!

Mewmew
Reader
Mewmew

So what do people think about virtual conventions instead? I know it’s not the same thing, especially for the people trying to make money off people physically being in the area, but they could still charge admission and have advertisements and earn money off virtual conventions.

You could even literally make up a virtual convention with avatars and stuff, you wouldn’t need to, but that would be kind of interesting :D That would be optional, if it existed at all. It probably sounds more fun to me than it is practical.

Doing this online they could still have the speakers you could tune in to, all sorts of cool stuff to watch and do virtually. You’d need to buy a virtual ticket to get your own login info.

It would obviously be far different than the physical experience and it may be better just to not have conventions at all. But it could be another option rather than just not having them anymore.

A lot of people who wouldn’t have attended otherwise would probably buy virtual tickets online to get access. The increase in numbers from people getting to attend from home may make up for the lack of earning from people physically being there. Not for the physical hall owners and those towns of course, but for someone :D

There would still be websites and things that would all publish the info for people who weren’t willing to pay to virtually attend.

It’s just a thought. Maybe it’s a bad idea :P Especially the actual virtual part with avatars, though that would be very interesting and fun for me it may not be very practical.

You could collect virtual trinkets from different games and studios that you’d carry around on the avatar. You could even do something where you let people turn them into physical versions of the items (depending on what they were) by paying to ship the real versions of them to the people after the virtual convention was done.

Still if they had the avatars, it would be optional, you could still access all the stuff just through web pages as well if the avatars were too fun for you :P (I admit the avatar part may be getting out of hand but I like it haha).

Mewmew
Reader
Mewmew

They must be hoping that COVID-19 will be under control later in the year. That would be nice and all, but I wouldn’t really plan on it. It’s more likely that it will be spread around even more with them just as helpless against it.

This one is not another public health scare that ends up being small and easily controlled. This one has killed more than the past three big health scares together in their entirety and it’s just getting started.

Reader
traja

This is terrible for the organizers of course because I can only imagine how much money had already been spent that cannot be recovered. Still I think this is the decision that all conferences of this type should consider. This virus has a very real potential to cause a global recession and events such as this that gather people from all over the world are one of the best ways to spread it. These events are also not necessary to hold.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

I gotta say…I feel for the GDC folks. This is totally out of their hands, and the past few weeks have likely been HELL for them, with the next few weeks similarly being HELL…and then a longer less shitty hell as they try to figure out the summer event. This ain’t their fault, and these folks have really been put through the ringer.

But at the end of the day, this is probably the best move they could have made and I’m glad they announced this week. There’s no “good” way to deal with this that makes everyone happy (sorry Brandon, hopefully they’ll be able to cover some of the costs for your trip you can’t get back ;__;), but this is probably the best option they could have chosen given the circumstances.

I’m just wondering when the hell they’ll fit it in between GDC, PAX West, gamescom, and a handful of other moderate to large shows that happen during the summer…

Man I miss when things were more ebb and flow in the industry with periods of heavy activity (launches or events etc.) followed by quieter periods to sorta “chill” and catch up…in recent years, especially this year it just feels like it’s going full speed with no stops : (

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

Yeah, late summer already has PAX West, Gamescom, and DragonCon. Terrible timing for it. But putting it off period is the right call.

Mewmew
Reader
Mewmew

Canceling it for this year would be a better call :P Many people already feel that these physical conventions are getting to be very outdated in the Internet age.

If they insist on still having them, I’d like to see some of these physical conventions change over to virtual conventions sometime down the road anyway. I’ll explain my thoughts about that in a new comment above in a bit :D

camren_rooke
Reader
camren_rooke

I want to go to DragonCon again but I feel like Tali’zorah and want to have a complete body suit to fight off con-crud.

Skaar
Reader
Skaar

Gamescom might get cancelled as well this year, if things continue as they are…
In NRW the number of infected people went from 0 to ~100 within the last week.
And that’s with carnival only being over since Wednesday…
So we all expect an explosion of infected people here within the next 2 weeks…

And since our politicians seem to be unwilling to actually properly work on containing the spread…this crap is bound to escalate here in NRW / the cologne area…

Godnaz
Reader
Godnaz

I’m just wondering when the hell they’ll fit it in between GDC, PAX West, gamescom, and a handful of other moderate to large shows that happen during the summer…

If they had a major gaming convention/conference in the next 6 month and you got to go for free, would you actually expose yourself to that?

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

Unless I had to…probably not. This puts a lot of events in question, even E3. but I don’t want to speculate on that, not worth the brain space right now. We’ll just see where the cards fall with this.

Godnaz
Reader
Godnaz

If E3 were to continue on June 9th and I got to go for free, it’s a no brainer for me to decline the invite.

Mewmew
Reader
Mewmew

Absolutely not. I don’t think they have to worry about fitting in later in the year. This is based on hopes that things will be under control by then. That means that either they found out a way to control and stop the virus, or that everybody had already been exposed and those that didn’t die have some immunities.

It’s just as likely that the virus could go through a transformation and be even worse or harder to control.

It would be nice and great if this was under control later in the year, I don’t see it, but I’d love to be proved wrong. I’d celebrate to be proved wrong.

I wouldn’t go anywhere near the conventions this year, not if I was offered paid time off and on top of it the trip was fully paid for too. I can get the same game news from home. I’m not going to expose myself to large crowds of people from all over and nobody should ask their employees to go to such a thing either.

Godnaz
Reader
Godnaz

It only took over a dozen companies to pull out of the event in order for the organizers to reschedule.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

Meanwhile the US has a second case of community transmission, which means someone who didn’t travel abroad in the last month or two and didn’t come into contact with anyone known to be infected nevertheless developed the disease.

This doesn’t just mean that the virus is spreading inside the US; it also means there are people out there who have not been diagnosed, likely are unaware that there is anything wrong with them, and might not even have any symptom, but are freely spreading the virus inside the US. In other words, screening for the virus has already failed. So, unless a lot of resources are now focused on systematically testing people from San Francisco to Sacramento in order to get screening for the virus back on track there is a real chance that area might become a new hot zone. It’s a good thing San Francisco already declared an emergency.

Reader
cursedseishi

I’ve also seen a report of a pet being quarantined because they came back as a ‘Weak Positive’ for the virus in Hong Kong. Since things are still developing, they aren’t sure if the virus is actually communicable between species like that or if its possibly just caught up in the sort of biological junk we leave all over the place that managed to get snagged in the dog’s schnoz.

If its just residue from a contaminated surface? Great! If it is actually transferable to pets…? Definitely not great.

I’d honestly prefer to see all of these events pushed back… But god knows that won’t happen. Renting the space is one thing, but a lot of companies invest hard in the advertising with it, and the last thing anyone wants is to back out on all that investment–and the cities they are based in likely wouldn’t want to see that happen either as I’m willing to bet they plan around these major events to an extent as well.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

For sure. This already proves that dogs that live in contaminated environments have the potential to at the very least apply dangerous doses of the virus to anyone they lick; If dogs can be hosts, though, that would be far nastier, as it would allow the virus to spread locally even if all humans are accounted for.

Oh, BTW: make it three cases of community transmission in the US. The newest one is in a different state, Oregon.