UPDATE: Organizers have rescheduled the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) for August. It will now take place Aug. 4-6 in San Francisco and be rebranded as GDC Summer.
This year’s annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) has been postponed amid growing concern about the international coronavirus outbreaks. The event, which has run since 1988, was expected to take place from March 16th–20th in San Francisco.
A spokesperson had previously reported as of February 25th that the conference would continue as planned and sanitation measures were announced. San Francisco is currently in a declared state of emergency. Last year the conference attracted more than 29,000 people.
The organization behind the conference, exhibition company Informa, says they intend to refund the cost of tickets; it was not clear whether that would be direct refund or a transfer to a future event. The date for that event is TBD; supper is already heavy with E3 in June and Gamescom and Pax Prime in August. And of course it is unknown if those events will be impacted by coronavirus as well in the coming months..
“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,” reads a note posted to the official GDC website on Friday evening. “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.”
The GDC organizers say they “fully intend to host a GDC event later in the summer,” and that the “we will be working with our partners to finalize the details and will share more information about our plans in the coming weeks.”
In past weeks, companies like Sony, Facebook, Electronic Arts, Kojima Productions, Unity, Amazon, and Epic all withdrew their attendance, citing health and safety concerns regarding the event, which contributed to the realization that GDC should be postponed. All of GDC’s China-based exhibitors also pushed their attendance to 2021, while China-based conference attendees would not be present.
Speakers who are were scheduled before GDC was postponed have been invited to submit their talks for online distribution and there may be other online elements as well.
For those who are most impacted by GDC postponed, Gamedev.World, an international game developer conference, announced a fundraiser to raise money for developers who’ve already spent significant amounts of money planning to attend GDC.
“Even though GDC has committed to refunding the tickets of attendees that haven’t cancelled, many developers around the world do not have a way to refund their visas, lodging, and travel costs. Many worry that they did not just lose the opportunity of attending this years’ conference, but also the possibility to re-route the funds spent to other opportunities throughout the year,” reads the fundraiser announcement.
“In response, GameDev.world is announcing a week-long public fundraising effort, starting March 27th until April 3rd,” GameDev.World says. “For the duration of the week, we will present — for free, live-translated, and online — various talks from both marginalized developers and the sponsors that made the event possible.” GameDev.World says it will be accepting donations throughout the course of the fundraiser and “every single dollar the event makes will go towards our partners at the GDC Relief Fund and the marginalized developers most affected by these cancellations.”
There will also be game bundles and a game jam in collaboration with indie storefront Itch.io, with all proceeds of the pay-what-you-want bundle, which will include existing games developers decide to donate and those created during the game jam, going toward the relief fund.The International Game Developers Association, the nonprofit organization that organizes the annual Game Developers Choice Awards at GDC, says its partnering with Gamedev.World for the relief fund.
“In addition to providing financial relief, this event will supply education opportunities via free talks about important game development subjects. Attendees across the globe will be able to hone their expertise and knowledge,” Renee Gittins, executive director of the IGDA, said in a statement. “