Another week and another major conference has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus. This time round, it's the turn of Game Developers Conference, otherwise known as GDC.
The event was planned to run from March 15th to March 20th in San Francisco, but after a number of companies pre-emptively cancelled their attendance, including Microsoft, Epic, Sony, Unity, Facebook, and EA, it's been decided that the entire event will be postponed until 'later in the summer'.
Over the past 30 years, GDC has garnered a great reputation for not just showing off new games and hardware, but also contributing to the gaming community on the whole. Some of the time there is given over to tutorials and summits which provide plenty of inspiration and education to those keen to join the industry, as well as for people already established. A Game Design Challenge along with the Independent Games Festival has also done wonders for indie game development over the years.
Alongside that, GDC keynote speeches by major companies tend to showcase upcoming products and technologies, and with new consoles launching later this year, we're guessing this would have been a key part of GDC this year.
Perhaps the biggest financial victim here is the smaller, less financially buoyant indie developers who are missing out on GDC despite having paid for flights, accommodations and other essential things. Fortunately, news of a GDC Relief Fund aimed at those small developers has already been launched in a bid to offset the cost somewhat.
GDC isn't the only event to cancel in recent times. Besides MWC being one of the first conference based victims to Coronavirus, Facebook has also moved its F8 Developer Conference online, and CCP has cancelled Eve Fanfest 2020.
At this stage, with the virus still not slowing down significantly, it's probably wise that GDC hasn't rescheduled with a locked-in date just yet. Such announcements certainly make the the possibility of Nvidia's GTC set for later this month look a little unlikely. Computex is due to be held in Taiwan in June with the biggest gaming conference, E3, also scheduled around that time.
For now, all of these conferences should be approached with caution. Understandably, there are bigger issues afoot across the world than conferences being cancelled, even if it is costing companies considerable sums to deal with.
October 15 2020 | 14:00