On February 28, organisers of the GDC announced the postponement of the March conference until further notice. Prior to this, a large number of companies, including Blizzard, Sony, Playstation, Microsoft and Facebook Technologies, had already withdrawn their attendance due to health and safety concerns amidst the outbreak.
The company announced its intentions to postpone shortly after a coronavirus case in California.
Microsoft announced their withdrawal a day before the GDC was canceled with the following statement: “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).”
The organisers of the GDC had originally decided to move forward with the annual event in March according to a statement given to The Verge on February 25. However, the company announced its intentions to postpone three days later, shortly after a coronavirus case with unknown origin was confirmed in California, the US state where the event was to be held.
The postponement of the GDC is not the only tech industry event that has been called off in 2020 with the Mobile World Congress, Facebook’s F8 developer’s conference and the PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds event also being canceled due to concerns over the virus.
Not only are large scale events affected but there have also been reports of a supply shortage. With China being the leading manufacturer in the video game industry, many companies have stated that they are facing repercussions in their production.
Valve is the latest business to claim a shortage, with their VR headset, the aptly named Valve Index, suffering production issues. Facebook had also announced limited availability of its own VR product, the Oculus Quest.
So far, there have been 39 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom. The countries outside China that are affected the most by the COVID-19 are South Korea, Iran, and Italy.
Featured image credit: @htxtafrica (Twitter)