The Games Developer Conference (GDC) is in a bit of an unprecedented situation this year, as a growing list of companies announce that they won’t be attending amidst coronavirus concerns. A majority of the list is composed of large tech companies or triple-A game developers and publishers, which has left indie devs and journalists wondering if GDC is even still happening this year.
For now, GDC has been delayed to Summer 2020 and organizers are working to implement precautionary measures in order to hopefully diminish the chances of attendees getting sick. In a blog post, organizers have said that GDC details will be finalized “in the coming weeks” so we may not have to wait very long to get new event dates.
Ultimately, time will tell. It remains to be seen whether all the companies that dropped out of GDC will return or how organizers will handle developers and publishers that have already purchased GDC passes but can’t attend on the new dates. Look below for GameSpot’s coverage of the major tech and game companies that have chosen to drop out of GDC this year–which are part of a list that includes Amazon, Microsoft, Blizzard Entertainment, Unity, Facebook, Epic Games, Electronic Arts, Sony, and Gearbox.
Companies That Have Dropped Out Of GDC 2020
For most consumers, an event like GDC means very little–though some hardcore fans enjoy tuning in to hear about the behind-the-scenes process of how their favorite games are made. As the name of the conference implies, the San Francisco-based event is designed with game developers in mind, not the people who buy and play games. Though there are panels and game demos, the primary purpose of the event is to network.
Many developers use GDC as a chance to show off their game to publishers or journalists to garner publicity ahead of a public debut or crowdfunding campaign announcement. Canceling GDC would likely negatively affect these creators most of all, especially when you consider that the conference has a steep price tag–starting at $250 USD (Expo pass) and going all the way up to $2,400 USD (All Access pass)–and the cut-off date for requesting a refund has passed.
Beyond GDC 2020
The influence of the coronavirus on the gaming industry will likely be bigger than GDC though–its effects may be seen on hardware production too. 2020 will see both Sony and Microsoft release new next-gen consoles, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X respectively, and the production of both could be influenced by attempts to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Though Nintendo has no plans to release a brand-new console, production on the Switch has already stuttered in light of the coronavirus and limited the overall supply of the hybrid handheld.
Hardware Production Affected By Coronavirus
Beyond that though, the coronavirus will affect consumer-friendly events too. Sony pulled out of PAX East, for example, and there are already plenty of instances of esport leagues and other game-related events being canceled all over the world.
Consumer-Friendly Events Affected By Coronavirus
Hopefully, these steps that companies and event organizers are taking will limit the spread of the coronavirus–the number one concern should be curbing the number of people getting sick. However, these actions are already having an effect on the gaming industry in 2020 and may continue to have long-term, unforeseen influences.