The Games Developers Conference postponed its March 2020 expo on Friday due to concerns about the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.
“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,” the conference released in an official statement on its website.
The event, which was scheduled to take place from March 16-20 in San Francisco, is now slated to be held this upcoming summer, though no dates have been confirmed.
“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 said in its statement.
Before GDC released an official statement, large game companies like Sony, Facebook, Activision Blizzard, Amazon and Electronic Arts pulled out of the conference, citing apprehension over Coronavirus as part of their reasoning.
"We have made the difficult decision to cancel our participation in Game Developers Conference due to increasing concerns related to COVID-19," Sony said in a February 20 statement.
The virus, also known as Covid-19, has infected over 85,000 people internationally since its outbreak in the Hubei province of China in late 2019. At the time of publication, there are over 90 cases of Covid-19 in the United States, and six people have died from complications related to the virus in Washington state.
GDC has also assured registered passholders who purchased tickets for the event that they will be refunded in full; the conference is currently in the process of sending out refunds.
The ceremonies slated to take place at the conference, such as the Independent Games Festival and the Game Developers Choice Awards, will be streamed on Twitch over the course of time that the conference would have taken place.
Some developers, including Sony, also pulled out of PAX East, which took place over the last week in February.
On an international scale, the Mobile World Congress, a leading conference for tech and mobile developers that was scheduled to take place in Barcelona, was also canceled in February after companies like LG, Sony, Amazon and Nvidia pulled out.
The Overwatch League canceled a series of homestand events in China and Korea in January and February respectively over similar concerns. The League of Legends Championship Series placed its 2020 Mid-Season Invitational tournament on hiatus in late February as well.
Most recently, the ESL Pro Tour Masters Championship in Poland, which includes Starcraft II and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) competitions, was closed to the public by Polish health officials. The games were still played and streamed to the internet, but no crowd was allowed inside the arena.
Travel advisories have been issued to areas in South Korea and Italy after a jump in cases, and other international events like the Tokyo Olympics and future English Premier League games are looking at postponements or cancellations.