Amazon announced today that it is also pulling out of the Game Developers Conference 2020, which will take place in San Francisco from March 16 to March 20. The major media company will instead hold an online event in the future to show off what it was going to bring to the show.
Many major sponsors and exhibitors have canceled plans to attend GDC as fears of the coronavirus spreading in the U.S. mount. Sony, Microsoft, Unity, Epic Games, Facebook, and Electronic Arts are all out. Google and Nvidia are the only main sponsors that still plan to attend (or at least haven’t announced that they’re pulling out yet).
GDC’s organizer Informa Tech has not canceled the show, although a GDC spokesperson told us over email that a new statement will be coming later today.
As coronavirus awareness and fear spread, people are encouraged to avoid large gatherings of people. Last year’s GDC had 27,000 attendees. And as more companies drop out, it is becoming harder for other firms and individuals to justify going to the event, even when GDC has a no-refund policy.
This is an especially rough reality for smaller game developers, who count on GDC to make connections with publishers and gain exposure through the media attending the show.