The world is in the midst of a pandemic, one of the biggest to plague the planet in the last century. Like every other industry, the video game world is feeling its effects. COVID-19 coronavirus has led to the closure of dozens of events, with many more potentially still to come.
With events being affected on a daily basis, Shacknews is taking some time to highlight which events have been affected. Which events have been cancelled across the gaming and esports realms? And which events are still tentatively set to go on?
(Last updated 3/31/2020)
Game Developers Conference (March 16-20)
The Game Developers Conference has been postponed. It has not been officially canceled, with event organizers still hoping to salvage something in the summer.
However, while a cancellation is not yet imminent, GDC has taken steps to have scheduled talks hosted on Twitch starting on March 16, which would have been the official start of the convention. The Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Choice Awards will likewise be streamed live on Twitch, both set to air on Wednesday, March 18 at 5PM PT.
E3 2020 (June 9-11)
Rumblings started around March 10 that the continuing spread of the coronavirus would claim E3 2020, one of the biggest weeks of the year for video games. Sources started telling members of the press that the show's cancellation was imminent. And sure enough, on the morning of March 11, the ESA officially canceled E3 2020.
Here was the statement issued:
However, it should be noted that renegade publisher Devolver Digital, which usually hosts a pre-taped "press conference" announcing its lineup, is still going full speed ahead with its plans for a livestream.
There has been no indication that Gamescom will be postponed or canceled at this time. Gamescom is regularly updating its social media with all indications that the August convention will go on. But with German Chancellor Angela Merkel warning that up to 70 percent of Germany could become infected, this is obviously subject to change at a moment's notice.
On March 16, the Gamescom organizers reiterated that the convention was still set to go on. However, they are acknowledging the imminent danger posed by the spreading virus and point out that anything is subject to change, especially if the outbreak goes into the summer months.
We will update this space if anything changes.
PAX West 2020
As COVID-19 cases started to escalate, PAX East continued uninterrupted. The summer months might lead to an assumption that PAX West should similarly go on without a hitch. However, Washington state has been among the hardest states hit by coronavirus. It was the site of the first U.S. case and the first U.S. death. There are currently over 370 cases, with a good number of those cases coming from Seattle.
If Washington's situation continues to worsen, it could ultimately affect PAX West. Governor Jay Inslee has already banned gatherings of over 250 people. While that declaration is indefinite, there's also no sign of the COVID-19 spread slowing down anytime soon.
But as of now, PAX West is on. We will offer updates as they come in.
SXSW 2020 (March 13-22)
One of the first signs that something truly serious was at hand, the annual music, gaming, and entertainment festival known as South by Southwest was officially shut down by the city of Austin, Texas. This is the first time in the event's 34-year history that it will not be held.
Several gaming events and announcements were lined up for South by Southwest, including a special reveal related to Sonic the Hedgehog.
More personally for Shacknews, it also marked the postponement of our Shack Smash Invitational, which was set to kick off a full series of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournaments.
Our first-ever Shack Smash Ultimate invitational tournament set to kick off in Austin, Texas next week has been postponed. The health & safety of our competitors, casters, and livestream production team is our top priority during this ongoing coronavirus outbreak. #ShackSmash pic.twitter.com/yxz7lpMdfX— Shacknews (@shacknews) March 12, 2020
Stay tuned for further updates regarding the Shack Smash tournament. We'll also have more on Smash Bros. esports as a whole in a moment.
San Diego Comic-Con (July 23-26)
There is no word from San Diego Comic-Con regarding whether it will be canceled. As of now, there are still plans to move forward.
STATEMENT FROM COMIC-CON REGARDING COVID-19 March 12, 2020 pic.twitter.com/6NGoOHox2r— Comic-Con Museum (@ComicConMuseum) March 12, 2020
However, sister convention Wondercon, set to take place in April in Anaheim, California, was postponed on March 12. A make-up date has not been given.
Comic-Con (organizer of WonderCon) will abide by this recommendation. Therefore WonderCon Anaheim, scheduled for April 10-12, 2020 in Anaheim, California, will be postponed until a later date. (2/4)— San Diego Comic-Con (@Comic_Con) March 12, 2020
This year's San Diego Comic-Con will be largely dependent on the coronavirus spread slowing with the summer heat. However, if cases escalate, there is a chance that the whole show could be pushed back, if not canceled outright.
Summer Games Done Quick 2020 (June 21-28)
Games Done Quick has become a biannual phenomenon with speedrunners from around the world coming together to play games for a good cause. This year's Summer Games Done Quick is scheduled for June 21-28 in Bloomington, Minnesota. However, COVID-19 may throw a wrench into those plans.
As the event is still months away, We are proceeding with #SGDQ2020 as planned on June 21-28. The team is actively monitoring the situation regarding the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and will provide an update if anything changes.— Games Done Quick (@GamesDoneQuick) March 6, 2020
In addition to the above tweet from March 6, the GDQ team issued the following statement on March 11:
"We are actively monitoring the situation regarding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and take the matter extremely seriously," reads the post on the Games Done Quick home page. "Games Done Quick will continue to evaluate over the coming weeks and hold any decision until closer to the event. In the meantime, preparations for #SGDQ2020 will proceed as planned. We appreciate your patience. We'll provide updates via Twitter and on our website if anything changes."
On Friday, March 27, Games Done Quick made the difficult decision to postpone SGDQ to August. However, in true Games Done Quick fashion, the top speedrunners in the world are going to rally together in an effort to help people during this crisis. Corona Relief Done Quick will now take place, entirely online, from April 17-19 and raise money for Direct Relief.
The Overwatch League: Season 3
When it rains, it pours for the Overwatch League. This was supposed to be the year that Activision Blizzard hosted homestands across the globe, with regional division play officially becoming a major part of the league. That has proven disastrous since COVID-19's initial spread across the Chinese mainland. Matches would then be canceled in Korea before everything spiraled out of control in the ensuing weeks.
The latest with the Overwatch League is that all March and April events have been canceled. Play will continue, but all live events and homestands are no longer happening.
On March 13, Blizzard outlined a reformatted schedule for when play would resume, with all matches being played online-only. And indeed, play is set to resume on March 21.
The situation with the Overwatch League continues to develop by the day. We will keep a close eye on what happens in the weeks and months ahead.
The Call of Duty League: Season 1
Another Activision Blizzard esports endeavor, the opening season of the Call of Duty League was also heavily affected by COVID-19. League organizers did their best to carry on, even holding the anticipated LA Home Series as normal.
However, the following week was where the situation escalated beyond anybody's control. While the league will continue play in an online-only environment, in a move similar to the one made by the Overwatch League, all live Call of Duty League events have been canceled.
League of Legends Esports (LCS, LEC, LCK, LPL)
Riot Games has done its absolute best to carry on, which has proven to be a Herculean task given the different regional branches of League of Legends esports to manage. Here's what we know about each sector of LOL Esports so far:
- LCS: North American League of Legends play will continue. On March 12, Riot Games announced that attendance would be limited to players and staff only. On March 13, Riot announced that all LCS operations would be suspended until further notice.
- LEC: European League of Legends play will continue. Like the LCS, LEC live events will also be restricted to players and staff only. On March 13, Riot announced that all LEC operations would be suspended until further notice.
- LCK: According to Inven Global, Korean League of Legends play has been halted indefinitely. There is no word on when this hiatus will be lifted.
- LPL: Chinese League of Legends play was momentarily paused to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. Play resumed on March 9, with matches being held online only. Participating players were also required to complete a 14-day monitored quarantine period.
Due in large part to travel restrictions and to the LCK's stoppage in play, the Mid-Season Invitational was pushed back to July. It will now run from Friday, July 3 through Sunday, July 19. A location has not been given.
As for Worlds 2020, that's still tentatively set to be held in Shanghai, China, but the situation remains fluid by the day.
Rocket League Championship Series: Season 9 (April 24-26)
The Rocket League Championship Series was set to crown a champion in late April. Unfortunately, with the COVID-19 outbreak growing increasingly dangerous, Psyonix made the difficult decision to cancel the RLCS Season 9 World Championship.
"At Psyonix, we take the safety of our competitive players, fans, and personnel very seriously," reads the Psyonix statement. "Due to worldwide health concerns surrounding the developing situation around the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we are canceling the Rocket League Season 9 World Championship live event as scheduled from April 24-26 in Dallas, Texas. We understand that this is frustrating, but health and safety will always be our top priority."
In an effort to compensate, Psyonix has added $250,000 to each Regional Championship prize pool. Regional tournaments, as well as the end of the RLCS regular season, will be held online.
Tekken World Tour/SoulCalibur World Tour
The annual esports tour for Tekken 7 has been halted for the time being, along with the first season for the SoulCalibur World Tour. In announcing the TWT and SCWT postpostments, Bandai Namco has removed several events from each circuit's lineup, including Final Round 2020 and NorCal Regionals. NorCal Regionals was canceled days later due to an edict from Santa Clara county.
There is no word on when or if either esports circuit will resume.
Capcom Pro Tour
The Capcom Pro Tour for Street Fighter V has likewise halted its operations for the next few months due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Circuit organizers recently laid out a new schedule. Brussels Challenge, NorCal Regionals, April Annihilation, and Taipei Major were removed from the schedule, while Fighter's Spirit in Korea and The Mixup in France were both pushed back to July.
With the recent travel ban announced by President Trump, it is unknown when or if the Capcom Pro Tour can continue anytime in the near future.
Apex Legends Global Series
This year was supposed to see Apex Legends esports take off in earnest with the start of the Apex Legends Global Series. That is now in limbo.
The first event of the Apex Legends Global Series was supposed to be Major 1 in Arlington, Texas, set to take place from March 13-15. Major 1 was postponed one week before it was scheduled to take place. A makeup date has not been announced.
Apex Legends Global Series Online Tournament #2 is scheduled to take place on March 21 and 23. It's an online-only tournament and is currently on track to take place as scheduled.
The Dota 2 International (August 18-23)
The Dota 2 International is set to take place from August 18-23 in Stockholm, Sweden. As of now, this is still scheduled to go on.
That's not to say that Dota 2 esports have not been affected. On March 11, ESL announced that the ESL One Dota 2 Los Angeles Major would be postponed to an unknown date. With COVID-19 continuing to spread, it's unknown whether the Dota 2 International will ultimately be affected.
We will monitor this situation closely.
The ESL Pro League Season 11
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive esports is set to carry on. However, it's doing so online-only. On March 11, the ESL announced that the remainder of the ESL Pro League Season 11 would be held online.
The Season 11 Finals were originally scheduled to be held in Denver, Colorado. They will now be held in a studio location in Europe without a live audience.
The ESL was set to carry on with ESL One Rio and ESL One Birmingham in May. On March 23, the ESL One Rio 2020 major for CS:GO was canceled. Here's the statement from the ESL website:
ESL One Birmingham was set for May. On March 25, ESL announced that the event would be held online.
Smash World Tour
Grassroots organizers had hoped to make 2020 something of a coming-out party for Super Smash Bros. esports. A circuit was planned for both Ultimate and Melee called the Smash World Tour. However, the spread of COVID-19 has led to Smash World Tour events being suspended through April.
Affected events include Pound 2020 being canceled, while HFLAN in France is being postponed to a later date. It should be noted that CEO Dreamland in Orlando will continue as scheduled, though not because of any particular desire of tournament organizer Alex Jebailey. Jebailey has noted that if he cancels without the backing of the city, he's not entitled to any compensation, essentially forcing him to move forward.
Again every day I speak with the hotel and the city of Orlando. No plans to cancel this weekend unless they offer me no choice which would help with liablity.— Alex Jebailey smash.gg/ceodreamland (@Jebailey) March 12, 2020
So players that are coming, please bare with us to fix/prep brackets which may take until Friday afternoon for singles.
Transparent mention. I can not cancel this event unless the city or hotel asks me too enacting Force Majeur(Google it). Everything in Orlando is open for business, no confirmed cases, Disney is open. If I cancel by my own choice, instant bankruptcy. Please understand my situation— Alex Jebailey smash.gg/ceodreamland (@Jebailey) March 12, 2020
Since CEO Dreamland, a number of Smash tournaments have either been postponed, canceled, or held online. One of the bigger events set to take place in May is Get On My Level, but was postponed on Monday, March 30.
GOML 2020 Update: pic.twitter.com/DVRVWLoxSk— Get On My Level (@GOMLsPlan) March 30, 2020
We will continue watching the Smash scene and report on any further disruptions.
EVO 2020 (July 31-August 2)
With fighting game tournaments being canceled left and right and postponements coming from the Capcom Pro Tour, Tekken World Tour, SoulCalibur World Tour, and Smash World Tour, it's reasonable to wonder whether EVO 2020 is still on the table.
As of now, there has been no official statement from any of EVO co-founders. However, Joey "MrWiz" Cuellar did issue the following on Twitter back on March 6:
Yes, but we are monitoring the situation closely. Our attendees safety is our #1 concern. We have some time between now and Evo to see if this gets better or worse. We will keep everyone posted.— Joey Cuellar (@MrWiz) March 6, 2020
On March 18, the EVO Twitter account sent out this statement on Twitter:
An important message from the Evo team... pic.twitter.com/jUuiQSIITz— EVO (@EVO) March 18, 2020
EVO will play it out and see where things go, so stay tuned. We'll update this post if anything changes.
PUBG Mobile Pro League
Tencent Games had grand plans for PUBG Mobile esports, but those look to be out the window. On March 10, the publishing giant announced that PUBG Mobile events would be online-only.
"The health and safety of our players and staff are our first priority," reads the official statement. "Hence, we have decided to convert the PUBG MOBILE Pro League South Asia 2020 to online event due to unforeseen circumstances related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak."
The PUBG Mobile Spring Split is set to take place starting on March 13.
QuakeCon 2020 (August 6-9)
The annual gathering of old-school id Software fanatics has become a massive event over the years, one largely supported by new-school DOOM and Quake landlords Bethesda Softworks. However, is the spreading COVID-19 virus putting this convention in danger?
As of now, there has been no communication from QuakeCon on any front, social media or otherwise. For the moment, QuakeCon is still slated to return to Dallas, Texas in August. However, during the late hours of the March 12 evening, Dallas County declared a state of emergency following the onset of another five cases of coronavirus. All gatherings of 500 people or more are prohibited and there's no word on when this order will be lifted.
On March 31, the QuakeCon organizers have opted not to take any chances. They officially cancelling this year's convention, citing the inability to prepare for the convention amidst the pandemic.
An update on QuakeCon 2020: pic.twitter.com/1FYUauI7PY— QuakeCon (@QuakeCon) March 31, 2020
EGX Rezzed (March 26-28)
Two weeks prior to the scheduled London gaming convention, the team at EGX Rezzed postponed its event due to the spreading COVID-19 virus. Here's the statement issued on March 13 from the EGX Rezzed website:
The event team will work with those who have tickets but cannot make whatever rescheduled date the convention falls on.
EGX Rezzed was originally set to host dozens of playable indie games, including ones that have not yet been released. Harmonix's Fuser, Devolver Digital's Fall Guys, and Tripwire Interactive's Maneater were set to be among the unreleased games playable on the show floor.
On March 20, it was announced that EGX Rezzed would be rescheduled for July 2-4, assuming the pandemic has passed by that point.
Minecraft Festival (September 25-27)
The first-ever Minecraft Festival was set to go down in the month of September. But the day before ticket sales were set to begin, the team at Mojang made the difficult decision to postpone the event.
Here's the statement from the Minecraft website:
With no festival set to go down for the foreseeable future, look for a livestream that will feature a series of announcements, similar to what's gone down with MineCon in previous years. We'll have more information on any pertinent dates as it arrives.
Classic Tetris World Championship 2020
The Classic Tetris World Championship will go on, but it's not going to be easy. The annual tournament to crown an ultimate NES Tetris champion is hosted at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo. However, the continuing COVID-19 outbreak has forced the PRGE to be canceled.
While the home event for the CTWC is no more, that doesn't mean the CTWC itself will bow out. As recently as Monday morning, event organizers announced their intent to continue this year's tournament.
Thank you for all the tweets showing us love and support after PGRE shut down for 2020.— Tetris Championship (@ClassicTetris) March 23, 2020
DON’T WORRY! We are brainstorming and working on something great for this year... there WILL be a champion crowned, some how some way!
We will monitor this story and offer any updates as they come in.
Arc World Tour 2020
The fighting game scene is being hit hard by COVID-19 and while Capcom and Bandai Namco have pushed their pro circuits back, Arc System Works has taken a more drastic step. They're axing the Arc World Tour 2020 entirely.
Arc System Works hopes to run independent events in place of ARCREVO Japan 2020 and the Arc World Tour 2020 Finals. But there's no denying that this will sting for fans of BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle and Granblue Fantasy: Versus.
Arc System Works will evaluate its plans for 2021 at a later date, pending the ultimate outcome of this pandemic.
Are there any other major events that are being canceled or postponed. We'll vigilantly update this post with any new events that are either canceled, postponed, or given the green light to continue. Be sure to follow Shacknews for any further coronavirus news affecting the video game world.