Coronavirus Fears Prompt Facebook Gaming, Oculus to Pull Out of GDC 2020

This year’s Game Developers Conference will be held March 16 through 20 in San Francisco

Facebook said it plans to return to GDC next year GDC

Facebook will not be participating in this year’s Game Developers Conference, March 16 through 20 in San Francisco, due to concerns over Covid-19, more commonly known as coronavirus.

The company said it is removing the Facebook Gaming and Oculus booth footprints from the Moscone Center floor and advising against its employees traveling during the event.

Facebook said it will still share all of the announcements it had planned for GDC 2020, but it will now do so via digital formats such as videos and online question-and-answer sessions. The company will also host GDC partner meetings remotely in the coming weeks.

The GDC team said in a blog post, “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 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and WHO (World Health Organization) guidance, following in the footsteps of other large international events that are taking place successfully at the Moscone Center.”

Facebook Gaming added in its blog post, “GDC is always a highlight of our gaming event lineup. However, the health of our employees and the wider games community comes before anything else. We thank UBM, GDC’s parent company, for all they’ve done to help build the games industry, and appreciate their efforts to share safety guidelines and additional health measures as the event draws closer. We’re long-term partners with UBM, and we’ll continue to collaborate with them in their efforts to support the game industry and gaming community. We plan to be at GDC next year and beyond.”

Finally, Oculus said in its blog post, “GDC brings together an international community of game developers to reflect on the industry’s momentum and look forward to its increasingly vibrant future. Sadly, we’re unable to participate this year. We’re committed to building the future of immersive gaming alongside virtual reality developers—and sharing that journey with the entire VR community.” David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.