Game Developers Conference 2020, one of the biggest gaming industry events, is officially postponed due to coronavirus concerns. The event is scheduled for a yet to be determined date this August.
After lots of speculation on social media, the GDC confirmed the rumors - the event is canceled. The announcement came in an update on the official GDC website. The organizers had this to say:
“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. Having spent the past year preparing for the show with our advisory boards, speakers, exhibitors, and event partners, we're genuinely upset and disappointed not to be able to host you at this time.”
Their decision is quite understandable. Large gatherings of people are highly discouraged by many organizations and governments and the folks at GDC need to do everything in their power to protect their visitors, speakers, and exhibitors.
That being said, this unpleasant news might have more long-term repercussions than the average gamer could anticipate. While no single game or even competitive event will immediately suffer from the lack of GDC 2020, the industry at large will be shaken a bit.
The conference has a long history of getting devs from around the globe together to exchange experience, observations, ideas and set trends. GDC is known to get some of the world’s best talent together and elevate the way we make and think about games.
Not to mention, a single all-access ticket for GDC costs about $2,500 and the cost to fly to San Francisco, California and stay there for a few days costs at least as much, so companies, especially smaller indy studios, will take a significant financial hit without enjoying the benefits of the expo.
Speaking of financial loss, GDC is doing their best to soften and prevent it wherever possible. All ticket holders will be given the opportunity to hold on to their passes for the edition in August, or GDC 2021 scheduled for next March. In addition, hotel bookings inside the GDC room block will owe no cancelation fees.
All talks from the postponed event, provided their respective speakers film them, will be made available for free on the GDC YouTube channel and the free part of the GDC Vault - a service that’s usually available only to paying visitors.
Lastly, the Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Choice Awards that were part of the program will be streamed live on Twitch instead, meaning fans will still be able to enjoy them.
All in all, the organization team needs to be commended for their effort to make the best out of the unfortunate coronavirus situation and still provide value to game makers everywhere.
Good job, GDC!