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GDC 2020 "Postponed"

jeikabu profile image jeikabu ・2 min read

The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is one of the largest and longest-running events targeted at video game developers.

Owing to concerns regarding the coronavirus, the past few weeks has seen a number of high-profile cancellations from the likes of: Sony, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Epic Games, Unity, Activision/Blizzard, and more. Yesterday, GDC themselves opted to postpone it in favor of an event "later in the summer".

The company I work for had planned to send a fairly large contingent including speakers, booth participation, and regular attendees. Now flights, hotels, off-site meetings, and other preparations are being canceled. Last night during dinner it came up and sparked a number of conversations:

  • Necessity
    • The coronavirus threat is over-blown, perpetuated by the media, or a hoax and it's fine to attend (around 1/3 of 20 people)
    • There is a real threat; either directly from the virus, or something indirect like the risk of quarantine, etc. (around 1/2 of 20)
    • Indifference, glad to not have to travel to U.S., or just waiting for dessert (the rest of people)
  • Impact Conspiracies
    • The upcoming PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles will be delayed
    • Companies will question the necessity/relevance of events like GDC and may not attend next year

How are other people's tech/dev/IT companies reacting, taking precautions, or simply doing nothing?

Discussion

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Editor guide
 

The coronavirus threat is over-blown, perpetuated by the media, or a hoax

Over-blown and a hoax are somewhat radically different perspectives.

To me we’re seeing the correct amount of overall concern, with conference cancellation being the approximate line in the sand, so I could go either way on whether this is appropriate.

 

I threw in "hoax" because of the recent Trump comment- which I found somewhat amusing.

With recent events in Iran and Italy it's made people in the Mediterranean rather nervous. I always liked the idea of "healthy caution", but I look forward to things getting back to normal.

 

Companies will question the necessity/relevance of events like GDC and may not attend next year

There is a risk, that would be a blow to the industry ... OR it could lead to some kind of metamorphosis of the GDC, becoming then bigger spot for indies in the case where all major companies leaved it for "home made" events (or online events).

But because of the quality of most of the talks, as well as the meetings made there, losing -completly- that event seems unlikely to happen.

I am personally much more enthusiastic about GDC than E3 for many reasons, the main being the fact that it is less a promotional show than a well of knowledge(s).

 

That's more or less what we talked about.

The demise of GDC "as we know it". Without the corporate sponsors Moscone center is a bit unnecessary. SF was super expensive anyway. Getting US visas for some people is always a pain.

Online conferences, smaller regional events, and getting back to more of a developer focus and less B2B, etc.

 

Apple's similar WWDC could be impacted too, though quite frankly it may be better off as a 100% virtual event anyway, thanks to more interest than available tickets.