In a nutshell: GDC 2020 has been postponed to an indefinite summer date, following the withdrawal of most major exhibitors. A few key events will be livestreamed, including the Game Developers Choice Awards, and exhibitors will be able to submit videos of their presentations that will be distributed online. But all the hype has already dissolved, which is a punch in the gut to game devs.
GDC has followed Mobile World Congress and Facebook’s F8 developer conference as the third technology expo to be canceled. Hopefully it’ll be the last. The GDC advisory board had no option other than to cancel the event.
With EA, Kojima Productions, Microsoft, Epic Games, Sony, Facebook, Unity and Amazon withdrawing — and other companies probably hoping the event would be canceled so they didn’t have to withdraw — the stage was going to be pretty quiet. Moreover, San Francisco, GDC’s home, declared a State of Emergency last week following a confirmed coronavirus case in California.
GDC will provide refunds to tickets and any accommodations booked through them. However, travel and external accommodation costs will undoubtedly be a sore point for the roughly 30,000 people who planned on attending. GameDev.World has started a fundraiser to support indie developers who won’t be getting a return on their GDC bookings investment.
When the event will be rescheduled to, or what the new event will look like, is unclear. Summer is already a busy season in videogame land with E3, Gamescom and Pax Prime occurring in rapid succession. Don’t be surprised if GDC 2020 turns out to be more of an indie event with major devs making alternate plans.