All of the Microsoft GDC 2020 plans have been changed. The company announced it will not be attending the events as expected. In its statement, it specifically cited the coronavirus as the reason for its decision to avoid participating.
Here is the Microsoft GDC 2020 cancellation explanation:
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).
However, an alternative to the Microsoft GDC 2020 events has been announced. The company will hold a GameStack online event March 16-18, 2020. People from studios like The Coalition, Compulsion, Double Fine, inXile, Mojang, Obsidian, Rare, and Rare will appear to talk about what went into creating their games, with both Gears of War and Minecraft specifically mentioned. Cloud technologies will be looked at, streaming will be discussed, and even next gen hardware (i.e. the Xbox Series X) was mentioned as a topic for these online panels.
Multiple developers and publishers have pulled out of GDC 2020 as a result of concerns about the risks related to the coronavirus. Sony, Facebook, and Kojima Productions all have canceled their appearances at the event.
In addition, the illness is having a negative effect on other events. Multiple PAX East 2020 panels and activities were canceled. The SNK World Championship Grand Final tournaments were delayed. Even the Sonic the Hedgehog movie won’t be appearing as planned in China. While the Cyberspace Administration of China didn’t specify what the “illegal” content was in Plague Inc., it seems like the game’s App Store removal in the region was another coronavirus casualty.
GDC 2020 will be held March 16-20, 2020 in San Francisco, CA.