The Game Developers Conference is one of the most eagerly-anticipated events of the year, and unfortunately one of the latest conventions affected by the coronavirus. So far, numerous companies have opted to skip GDC 2020, citing concerns of COVID-19 and the general health of their employees.
Last updated on February 28, 2020 at 4:15 p.m. EST.
While there is still plenty to see and do at GDC 2020, it’s certainly disappointing – though understandable – to have the following companies skip the event:
- Kojima Productions
- Kowloon Nights
- Blizzard Entertainment
Electronic Arts is one of the more recent companies to bow out of GDC 2020. While initial reports came from a LinkedIn post, EA has confirmed that it is cancelling its participation at GDC and “limiting attendance to other events”. What this means for future events – including E3 2020 – is currently unknown.
This is certainly a disappointing reality for Star Wars fans. EA’s recent critical success, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, was to have panels at GDC 2020 dedicated to various elements of the game.
Some of the first companies to withdraw their participation at GDC 2020 were Sony, Oculus, and Facebook. All three stated concerns over the coronavirus and the desire to keep their workforce healthy. Facebook added that it still plans to share the announcements planned for the show via video as well as online Q&As.
Kojima Productions was also supposed to make an appearance at GDC 2020. Kojima Productions founder, Hideo Kojima, and AI programmer, Eric Johnson, were supposed to give talks about Death Stranding at the event, but it seems as if they will need to wait for another time.
Kowloon Nights might be a new name to many, but a recent report by the Washington Post stated the company would not be attending GDC 2020. According to the report, Kowloon Nights is a “small Asian investment fund” that backs small studios. One of Kowloon Nights’ most noteworthy investments is the next title of Fumito Ueda’s, the creator of Shadow of the Colossus.
GDC 2020 has also taken a massive hit now that Microsoft, Unreal, and Unity decided to pull out of the event. Microsoft will still be hosting a digital-only event on the company's Game Stack which is likely to cover things reserved for GDC. Similarly, Epic will be sharing more news through other channels. Unity will also be working towards sharing its news online.
The coronavirus is certainly having a noticeable impact on the games industry and unless things start to calm down, we could see more cancellations affecting future events. While it is disappointing to see major companies skip GDC 2020, it’s certainly a reasonable decision.