GDC Postponed as Amazon, Gearbox, and Blizzard Drop Out Due to Coronavirus

The Game Developers Conference 2020 has been canceled following three additional major participants dropping out of the event due to concerns regarding the spread of the novel coronavirus. COVID-19 worries are spreading in the United States following multiple cases in California being diagnosed without clear origins.

Amazon's announcement came first via the company's official blog. Amazon officially pointed to "continued concerns over COVID-19" as justification for canceling its GDC 2020 attendance. As a promise to disappointed GDC attendees and excited fans, Amazon says that "we still have exciting things to share" in the future. Information about a newly announced global online event hosted by AWS Game Tech will be revealed in the coming weeks.

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Blizzard was the next to announced that it had canceled its GDC plans. It too specifically referred to "growing concerns related to COVID-19" in its announcement, made on Twitter. Unlike other parties, Blizzard makes no mention of moving its planned programs to a different event, however.

Finally, Gearbox was the final big studio to confirm that it won't be attending GDC 2020 today. Unlike the other studios, Gearbox didn't specifically reference COVID-19 as the cause. Instead it simply referenced concern for its "employees' health and wellness." Perhaps Gearbox didn't want to create any undue worries. Gearbox does have new plans, however. Rather than live presentations,  Gearbox will be doing "digital presentations," with plans to be revealed in the near future.

Now, GDC has officially postponed the convention due to worries about COVID-19, though it's likely in part due to the sheer amount of cancellations, too. It would be a much emptier and quieter convention than it had previously planned if it went ahead. GDC officials have confirmed that a summer GDC event is in the process of being planned later this year.

The Game Developers Conference is an industry convention specifically for game developers. During the show, professional devs share their ideas, their works, and their plans for the future of their studios and the industry. It's rarely a showcase for individual games like E3 can be, but its importance can't be understated. It's just a poor coincidence that COVID-19 could be finding a foundation in California, as GDC is held in San Francisco. It's a safe choice for everyone, game developers or otherwise, to minimize travel, and for GDC to postpone.

GDC 2020 was originally planned for March 16 through March 20 in San Francisco, California.

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