The impact of the current COVID-19 outbreak continues to ripple across the gaming industry. This time, two high-profile developer-oriented events have been forced to close their doors to their intended audiences, as the Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2020 and Google I/O 2020 have officially postponed and canceled their respective scheduled events.
GDC 2020 was scheduled to be held on March 16-20 in San Francisco, while Google I/O was slated to take place in May in Mountain View, CA.
Prior to GDC’s official announcement, the event already lost high-profile participants as Hideo Kojima, Sony Interactive Entertainment, and Facebook decided to cancel their plans to attend the event.
Within minutes of their respective announcements, both organizations replaced their webportals with a single page that shared information about the COVID-19 issue, along with helpful links to explain what their supposed attendees can expect next.
“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 team wrote on its webpage.
GDC intends to host another event later this year around the summer. For now, GDC is working with the event’s resource speakers to make their presentations available for free via GDC’s YouTube channel. This will include the Google for Games program, one of the more popular and highly anticipated tie-in events.
The GDC team is also in the midst of fulfilling all refund requests.
Indie developers facing a major financial impact from these cancellations can also check out the GDC Relief Fund. This community initiative set up by WINGS Interactive, gamdev.world, and a variety of game publishers has already raised US$76,500 in donations that will be dispersed among affected organizations.
Google is likewise working towards refunding all ticket purchases, setting a deadline for all refunds to be completed by March 13.
Maintaining a positive outlook, Google has promised to “explore new ways to evolve Google I/O to best connect with [their] developer communities.” Alternative measures being considered include webinar conferences, sharing presentation decks on various Google platforms, and showcasing exciting next-gen interactive content.