PAX East has seen its fair share of pullouts in the last two weeks due to rising coronavirus concerns and it looks like GDC 2020 is also feeling the heat of those decisions. Facebook, Kojima Productions, PlayStation, and EA are among the confirmed no-shows for the upcoming Game Developers Conference.
"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,” a Facebook rep told Polygon previously.
"Having closely followed the global situation with Coronavirus and with the recent escalation of cases in new regions, we have decided to take additional steps to protect the wellbeing of our employees including the restriction of all non-essential travel," reads a statement made by EA to PC Gamer. "As a result, we are also cancelling our official participation at GDC and limiting attendance to other events. We are continuing to monitor the situation and will adjust guidelines to our employees as we feel is appropriate.”
GameIndustry.biz got their own statement regarding PlayStation's decision to back out: "We are disappointed to cancel our participation, but the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern."
Now for Kojima Productions' message: "Kojima Productions has made the difficult decision to cancel our participation at the 2020 Game Developers Conference due to increasing concerns related to novel coronavirus. Although much-anticipated, unfortunately, this cancellation also includes Hideo Kojima’s session on the 19th and Eric Johnson’s session on the 16th."
The team behind GDC 2020 reached out with their own message on their socials, saying: "We believe that, based on the strict U.S. 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. Locally, the Department of Health for both the State of California and the City of San Francisco support the convening of public events.
"We are also continuing to follow the latest CDC and WHO guidance, following in the footsteps of other large international events that are taking place successfully at the Moscone Center."
While the news would bum anyone out, it's good to see so many companies taking whatever measures they see fit to make sure that their people are taken care in terms of safety. While in the US it hasn't been as big of an issue with isolated breakouts that were caught in time, that doesn't stop the fact that internationally the death toll is staggering and when traveling internationally, that exposure increases exponentially.