Facebook’s Oculus, Sony drop out of Game Developers Conference due to Coronavirus concerns
The Game Developers Conference is the biggest gathering for video game makers
With Coronavirus showing no signs of abating any time soon, the outbreak continues to wreak havoc on the world's biggest trade shows. After the Mobile World Congress being scrapped, big players are now dropping out of the Game Developers Conference.
Both Facebook's Oculus VR division and Sony announced on Thursday that they were withdrawing from the upcoming gathering for video game makers in San Francisco.
"Sadly, we're unable to participate this year," Oculus said in a blog post today.
"Out of concern for the health and safety of our employees, our dev partners, and the GDC community as a whole, Facebook's AR/VR and Gaming teams won't be attending this year's Game Developers Conference due to the evolving public health risks," they added.
"We still plan to share the exciting announcements we had planned for the show through videos, online Q&As, and more, and will plan to host GDC partner meetings remotely in the coming weeks. We continue to collaborate with UBM, GDC's parent company, and our partners, and thank them for their efforts," Oculus said.
Also Read: Coronavirus fears: Facebook cancels San Francisco summit, IBM pulls out of cybersecurity conference
Sony Interactive Entertainment told Gamesindustry.biz that they were also skipping the show.
"We felt this was the best option as the situation related to the virus and global travel restrictions are changing daily. We are disappointed to cancel our participation, but the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern," the company said.
The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is scheduled to be held over March 16 to March 20. While the conference is still expected to go on as planned, the number of attendees might be significantly low.
"Our China-based conference attendees (around 2% of the total GDC attendance) will not be attending this year, since the US Government has restricted visas & travel from areas significantly impacted by [the coronavirus]," the show's organisers said last week.
According to GDC, "only around 10 out of the 550 companies slated to exhibit at the show were from China". The Coronavirus outbreak has lead these companies to withdraw from the GDC entirely or just send their North American employees.
Besides the MWC, the camera trade show in Japan called CP+ and the Facebook marketing summit has also been called off. Sony also dropped out of PAX East, another video gaming event, due to Coronavirus concerns. Another show that's been disrupted is the cybersecurity conference RSA, which will be held next week in San Francisco. Both IBM and AT&T, along with several Chinese vendors, have decided to withdraw. Despite cancellations, RSA still plans on holding the event.
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