Just a day after canceling its attendance at Pax East 2020, Sony has announced it’s also removing itself from the Game Developers Conference (GDC) next month, too, citing fears over the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19. Facebook has followed suit, opting instead to deliver its Oculus keynote online.
The news comes by way of Gamesindustry.biz — the outlet was issued statements by spokespeople from both companies.
A statement from Sony Interactive Entertainment read:
“We have made the difficult decision to cancel our participation in Game Developers Conference due to increasing concerns related to COVID-19 (also known as coronavirus). We felt this was the best option as the situation related to the virus and global travel restrictions are changing daily. We are disappointed to cancel our participation, but the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern. We look forward to participating in GDC in the future.”
While Facebook explained:
“Out of concern for the health and safety of our employees, our dev partners, and the GDC community, Facebook will not be attending this year’s Game Developer Conference due to the evolving public health risks related to COVID-19.
We still plan to share the exciting announcements we had planned for the show through videos, online Q&As, and more, and will plan to host GDC partner meetings remotely in the coming weeks.
We continue to collaborate with UBM, GDC’s parent company, and our partners, and thank them for their efforts.”
The Coronavirus COVID-19 has so far injected over 75,000 people and killed more than 2000. While the disease originated in China, it has since spread worldwide to dozens of countries. As we reported yesterday, new studies suggest it’s highly contagious — more so than the SARS epidemic, even, albeit less deadly.
GDC itself has allayed concerns in its own statement online: “We believe that, based on the strict US quarantine around coronavirus and a large number of enhanced on-site measures, we are able to execute a safe and successful event for our community.”
The convention is slated to continue as planned between March 16 and 20.