In what could only be described as a weekend massacre, numerous big names in the game industry have cancelled their participation in the Game Developers Conference 2020 over concerns of the coronavirus outbreak.
Between February 21st to February 24th several industry leaders have cancelled their plans for GDC 2020. It first started with PlayStation along with Facebook and Oculus on Friday. In another major blow, Hideo Kojima along with the team at Kojima Productions cancelled their plans.
PlayStation had already cancelled its appearance at PAX East for the same reason. Facebook also cancelled another major event over the same concerns. Kojima productions made the announcement on Twitter in the following post:
These cancellations are a major blow to the Game Developers Conference as Facebook and Sony had a commanding presence on the expo floor. For the last few years; both industry titans have had a show of force as they attempted to flex their VR muscles. Their absence is going to leave a major empty space.
Given his reputation in the industry, Hideo Kojima’s panel was expected to be one of the most popular ones of the week. Industry leaders and pioneers tend to have the most popular panels during GDC.
Prior to these major cancellations, numerous publishers and studios based in China had cancelled their GDC attendance or opted to only send their US based team. Currently: Microsoft, Epic Games, Unity and Google will be at GDC 2020.
Some have started to call on major events like GDC to cancel their 2020 event due to the coronavirus outbreak. One of the most outspoken advocate of this has been industry icon Mark Kern. In numerous Twitter post, he has shared his concerns about the epidemic and why conventions should cancel their 2020 events (aka con illness).
Given how often 8Bit/Digi covers conventions and expos, we can attest to how accurate these concerns are.
The Game Developers Conference is one of the largest gatherings of professionals from the gaming industry. The 2020 event will take place between March 16 until March 20th at the Moscone Convention Center and the surrounding areas.
8Bit/Digi is an independent media outlet that provides an insight into the video game community and industry of the San Francisco Bay Area.