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GDC 2022 was a COVID-spreading event despite precautions by organizers

Around 12,000 industry professionals attended the Game Developers Conference in person, some of which have reported COVID-positive cases since.

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The Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2022 returned this year, hosting both an in-person and live event in San Francisco, California’s Moscone Center. The hosts took a risk on bringing industry professionals together, but tried to alleviate it (as several events have done) with health precautions and restrictions aimed at trying to keep attendees safe. However, it would seem those precautions weren’t entirely enough as numerous attendees are now reporting having tested positive for COVID-19 since the event.

GDC 2022 was hosted from March 21 to March 25, running at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California. It was to be the event’s first return to physical form after having canceled in-person attendance and hosting digital events for both GDC 2020 and GDC 2021. Where it was meant to be as safe a year as possible, featuring a number of health precautions including proof of vaccination, as well as proof of booster shot or a negative COVID-19 test to go with it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long after the event that word circulated of a handful of the 12,000 attendees allegedly knowing they had COVID-19 and attending the show anyways, including one notable tweet by IndieCade Director of PartnershipsTiffany Otto.

Since then, several attendees of GDC 2022 have shared updates that they had tested positive for COVID-19 after leaving the event and experiencing symptons, such as Witch Beam Games artist and designer Wren Brier and Unity Senior Partner Relations Manager Unity Osama Dorias. Others claimed to have accidentally been in close contact with someone who was known to have tested positive either during or after the event. In all cases, it was suggested that affected attendees isolate and test for COVID for several days after the event due to the disease’s notable incubation period where sometimes symptoms don’t occur until days after the event.

Regardless, while there have been some gaming events such as CEO 2021 and Smash Ultimate Summit 4 that were seemingly and thankfully able to lock down COVID restrictions and ensure safety of most attendees, GDC 2022 is proving to be one that may have lasting consequences after the fact. With Apex Legends esports returning to in-person competition and EVO 2022 set to be a physical event as well, it remains to be seen if following events will fare better at safety. Nonetheless, COVID-19 is still most certainly a threat to live and heavily attended events and the efforts to provide reliable safety appear to still be a moving target in 2022.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at tj.denzer@shacknews.com and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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