The year's biggest video game development trade show just got 'postponed' due to concerns over the ongoing coronavirus outbreak

GDC 2019

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The 2019 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California.

  • For the first time in over 30 years, the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California is "postponed" until this summer due to the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19. A new date was not announced.
  • Several major companies pulled out of the conference ahead of the announcement: Sony's PlayStation group, Facebook, Microsoft's Xbox group, "Fortnite" maker Epic Games, and Unity.
  • "After close consultation with our partners in the game development industry and community around the world, we've made the difficult decision to postpone the Game Developers Conference this March," the event organizers said.
  • Nearly 30,000 people attended GDC 2019, and conference exhibitors are still planning to offer some of their GDC 2020 programming online.
  • COVID-19 has infected more than 78,000 people in China and infections have spread to at least 40 countries. On Tuesday, US health officials warned that the coronavirus outbreak could soon reach the United States.
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The annual Game Developers Conference, scheduled to take place in San Francisco from March 16 to 20, is "postponed" until "later in the summer" due to concerns related to the outbreak of the coronavirus disease, or COVID-19, the event's organizers said in a press release.

"After close consultation with our partners in the game development industry and community around the world, we've made the difficult decision to postpone the Game Developers Conference this March," the release said. It did not give an exact date for when the event will now be held.

GDC's postponement comes amid a string of announcements from major exhibitors pulling out: Facebook, Sony's PlayStation group, Microsoft's Xbox group, Unity, Electronic Arts, and "Fortnite" developer Epic Games all announced they would skip this year's show to safeguard their employees from the COVID-19.

Many of the exhibitors who planned to attend have promised to make their GDC programming available online, including Microsoft, Facebook, and Unity.

Earlier this month Facebook cancelled its own Global Marketing Summit, which was scheduled to take place at the Moscone Center a week before GDC, from March 9 to 12. San Francisco has announced a state of emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak, though no cases of infection have been reported in the city. One patient from a cruise ship was transported to a San Francisco hospital on Feb. 20.

COVID-19, the coronavirus disease, originated in China, where more than 78,000 people have been infected, according to the World Health Organization. Nearly 3,000 more cases have been reported in 40 countries around the world, including 53 cases of infection in the United States. The WHO reports that 2,762 people have died due to COVID-19 infection as of February 26, most of them in China.

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