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Game developer conference in jeopardy

February 26, 2020.


COVID-19. © iStock.

After the cancellation of the Mobile World Congress, now the Game Developers Conference, scheduled for March 16 to 20 in San Francisco, is threatened by Coronavirus Disease. Though the organizer maintains that the conference will go on, an increasing number of big industry players are canceling their attendance. John Riccitiello, CEO of Unity Technologies, issued a memo discouraging employees from attending GDC and informing them that the company would not be present at the conference. Shortly thereafter, its competitor Unreal Engine/Epic Games announced its withdrawal. Cancellations include Microsoft/Xbox, Sony/PlayStation, Electronic Arts, Facebook/Oculus, Japanese studio Kojima Productions, and the list will probably keep expanding. Every announcement makes the cancelling of the conference loom larger, as was the case with the MWC in Barcelona, where organizers gave up after an epidemic of defections from major key names. To date, nine cases of Coronavirus Disease have been confirmed in California.

Furthermore, Facebook announced the cancellation of its annual F8 developer conference, scheduled to take place May 5-6 in San Jose, California, that approximately 5,000 people were expected to attend.

The Verge, Megan Farokhmanesh, “GDC ‘moving forward as planned’ as Epic, Microsoft, and others pull out over coronavirus concerns.”