A snowball rolling downhill eventually becomes a boulder and that’s exactly what’s going on with GDC 2020 set to kick off in about a month as more companies have pulled out of the convention. Microsoft was the first, announcing via the company’s game stack blog:

“After a close review of guidance by global health authorities and out of an abundance of caution, we’ve made the difficult decision to withdraw from participating at Game Developers Conference 2020 in San Francisco. The health and safety of players, developers, employees, and our partners around the world is our top priority. Especially as the world is experiencing growing public health risks associated with coronavirus (COVID-19).”

In the same blog post, Microsoft said they will be shifting their presence at GDC to be more or less virtual, with livestreams of their panels.

Microsoft logo on dark background

The game engine, Unity, was the next one to announce their departure from the event, stating on the official Unity blog:

“Unfortunately, this year, after much thought and deliberation, we have made the difficult decision to pull out of GDC 2020. While we did not make this decision lightly, the current conditions with COVID-19 (also known as Novel Coronavirus) present too much risk. We take our employees’ wellbeing very seriously. We do not want any Unity employee, partner, community member or developer to compromise their health and safety unnecessarily.

We’re advising all employees to refrain from traveling to GDC. We will no longer have a physical presence with a booth, but will instead showcase the great GDC content we’ve been working towards online. Expect more details in the coming weeks.

The Game Developers Conference has always done a fantastic job in uniting the games industry. We look forward to showing our support at next year’s event.”

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Lastly, Epic’s in house game engine, Unreal made their plans for GDC known via Twitter, stating:

See the source image

With this most recent slew of departures, it seems the standing of the show itself this year is in jeopardy as rumors have begun to mount about it’s cancellation amid fears of Coronavirus outbreak. GDC has yet to comment on this most recent round of announcements.

Source: Microsoft Game Stack Blog, Unity Blog, Unreal Twitter

About The Author

Nic S.
Sr. Staff Writer

Nic Stevenson, sometimes called AnthroMetal, is a writer, producer, broadcaster and lover of video games and metal. He's been gaming since he was a wee lad with the Sega Master System way back when and, aside from a 5-year romp through the academic halls of anthropology, followed the gaming industry religiously. He is an avid lover of metal music and sometimes will even play his guitar or sing if necessary. There are no games or genres outside of his purview. Really anything he could play to boost his gamerscore on Xbox Live. You can find him there, usually playing something old because of an ever-increasing backlog, sometimes playing something new when he's able. He has tattoos of BioShock, dead space and borderlands 2 so far, with plans to add as many as he can for those games deemed worthy. He may run out of space. Look, he really really likes video games okay? Okay. Also, he streams sometimes on twitch.