After a string of cancellations by larger vendors amid the worldwide coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), this year’s annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) was postponed. Exactly when it would reemerge, we weren’t sure. Now, GDC organizers say a summer conference will kick off in its place.

Update (March 20th, 2020): GDC Summer is slated to happen between August 4th – 6th, taking place in the original conference site at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

The organizers say it will include expert-led talks along with a “freestyle two-day expo show floor” from August 5th – 6th.

Some of the details are still up in the air, so make sure to keep an eye on GDC’s website for updates.

Original Article (February 29th, 2020): GDC organizers announced the decision late Friday in a news briefing, saying that the mid-March gathering in San Francisco, which typically includes both a vendor expo and developer talks, will instead take place at some point later in the summer. Exactly when, we’re still not sure (see update).

Registered passholders should expect an email regarding full refunds, the organizers say, adding that people who made hotel reservations inside the GDC room block won’t pay penalties or fees associated with their reservations.

GDC organizers say that many of the developer presentations that would have been given at the conference will be available for free online via YouTube and the free section of GDC’s video vault. Event organizers have also planned to stream a number of GDC 2020 developer talks as well as the Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Choice Awards via Twitch during the March 16 – 20 conference time slot.

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“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,” event organizers say. “We want to thank all our customers and partners for their support, open discussions and encouragement. As everyone has been reminding us, great things happen when the community comes together and connects at GDC. For this reason, we fully intend to host a GDC event later in the summer. We will be working with our partners to finalize the details and will share more information about our plans in the coming weeks.”

GDC is one of the largest developer conferences for the industry; last year the gathering saw a record-breaking 27,000 attendees across both its developer talks and expo area. Although important to the games industry at large, it plays a significant role in the growth of virtual reality specifically, as GDC has historically been a venue for many ‘VR-firsts’, namely the unveiling of Oculus Rift S in 2019, the unveiling of Project Morpheus (aka PSVR) in 2014, the price and availability of PSVR in 2016, and the debut of countless VR games from indies and big industry players alike.

Before the postponement, a litany of companies stepped back from GDC 2020 such as Epic, Microsoft, Unity, Sony, Electronic Arts, Facebook, and Kojima Productions. The city of San Francisco, where GDC was set to take place, also issued a state of emergency only a few days prior.

This follows two other high-profile convention cancellations, namely Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2020, which was supposed to take place in Barcelona in late February, and Facebook’s own F8 developer conference, which was slated to kick off in early May in San Jose, CA.

Stay up to date with further developments of COVID-19 by visiting the World Health Organization’s website.

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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 4,000 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • sfmike

    Maybe now is the time to promote some virtual presentations as it seems the time is right.

    • Immersive Computing

      An opportunity for VR to provide a useful function outside of gaming and experience.

      Meeting people in VR is always interesting!

      Meanwhile back IRL….

      • kontis

        a good room in VRChat actually often feels like a never ending expo or conference. More like a comic-con, though.

        • asdf

          same with neosvr because in there people invent things so its like a constant show and tell for programmers

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  • MorePopcornPlease

    Canceled because of 4 cases in SF? Better not leave the house.

    • Lulu Vi Britannia

      There aren’t only people from San Fransisco at GDC, smart boy. Maybe you should eat something else than popcorn ;) .

  • kontis

    All these conferences are mostly pointless in the era of online video streaming. 99% of their value is in the videos of the presentations.

    They also promote inner circles and industry mafias, especially those in western countries.

    At least one thing is good about the coronavirus outbreak.

  • I wanted to go there. This sucks

    • Immersive Computing

      Wonder if next month’s event in London will be cancelled?

      • Rudl Za Vedno

        Seriously? London will be in lock-down soon.

        • Immersive Computing

          Not in lock down yet, although pubs and restaurants closed last night; travel services being reduced as people are now working from home when possible.

          XR Europe was cancelled last week, no surprise.