Facebook today announced that its annual F8 developer conference isn’t happening this year due to concerns over the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Facebook’s Konstantinos Papamiltiadis released word today via a Facebook blog post, stating that the company has cancelled the “in-person component of F8 2020.” Facebook will be fracturing the typical gathering into locally hosted events, videos and live streamed content.

F8 2020 was set take place from May 5th – 6th in San Jose, California.

Facebook notably pulled out of Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) before it was officially cancelled earlier this month, and also pulled out of the Game Developer Conference (GDC) along with Epic Games, Unity, EA, Sony/PlayStation, Microsoft, and Kojima Productions. At the time of this writing GDC is still slated to take place in San Francisco in mid-March despite the city’s declaration of a state of emergency.

“This was a tough call to make — F8 is an incredibly important event for Facebook and it’s one of our favorite ways to celebrate all of you from around the world — but we need to prioritize the health and safety of our developer partners, employees and everyone who helps put F8 on,” Papamiltiadis says. “We explored other ways to keep the in-person part of F8, but it’s important to us to host an inclusive event and it didn’t feel right to have F8 without our international developers in attendance.”

Index Will Return to Stock Ahead of 'Half-Life: Alyx', but "far fewer units" Due to Coronavirus

“We remain committed to the city of San Jose, where we’ve hosted F8, and its community,” Papamiltiadis continues. “Every year, we donate a portion of F8 ticket sales to an organization working to diversify the tech industry. This year, we’re doubling that donation amount to $500,000 and will prioritize organizations serving local San Jose residents. We also typically host local students onsite at F8. Working with the next generation of developers is one of the highlights of what we do — and this year, we will still provide an F8-inspired experience for those students in lieu of hosting them at the event itself.”

Last year’s F8 saw the release of pre-orders for both the standalone headset Oculus Quest and Rift S. Like last year, this year’s F8—or rather the smaller events to take its place—will likely see information related to developments at Oculus and possibly also news surrounding the company’s recent VR studio acquisitions.

Newsletter graphic

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. More information.

Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Ryan McClelland

    I can see why you won’t want to be giving VR demos…

  • Les Vega

    so why not “Defy Reality” and hoast F8 in VR on Vrchat or one of the many virtual platforms availible?

    • Xron

      Ye… would be awesome to see preseantation in VR… they could stream it on youtube and twitch too, for 2d lovers, but it would be awesome to see it in Vr.

    • aasdfa

      yes but please anything but vrchat. its great but its also over run with meme obsessed kids.

  • Jim P

    Why are they scared. California does not have any cases of the Virus.

    • Nejham Mosquera

      Is this sarcasm? or you just think that all of the attendees to the F8 are from the US.

      • Jim P

        Seriously. They want be coming from China. No flights. I work in the industry. Middle East is pretty much shut down. So who ever is in America right now. We are good. Those companies that usually fly to join the event it want happen.

        • Immersive Computing

          Just spoke with contact at leading global bicycle manufacturer with factories across World including Taiwan and China.

          He said their Chinese factories are running skeleton crew, many workers stuck in rural areas since CNY.

          Prefectures (regions) are in lock down, even if workers can return there are no materials/parts allowed into the prefecture from suppliers, and nothing finished allowed to ship out.

          He said most manufacturers build a stock buffer for CNY, but that can’t be shipped out…

        • alboradasa
    • Blaexe

      Of course you don’t have cases if you don’t test.

    • Warscent

      Yes it does.

      • Jim P

        I thought when they said Washington. It was Dulles area.

  • I hope they will organize it in Facebook Horizon, together with its launch!

  • MosBen

    It’s probably not a big year for Oculus announcements anyway, other than crowing out sales of the Quest. But whatever they have will likely just get pushed to Oculus Connect, assuming we’re not all rage zombies by then.

  • Cragheart

    I probably would be disappointed of their mobile focus but Facebook should just host it in VR. Isn’t that what VR is for?