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Game Developers Conference moves to August — if COVID-19 is no longer a factor

The postponed Game Developers Conference will take place in 2020 after all, albeit over a shorter time period.

GDC 2020 was initially scheduled to take place this month, but the fast spread of coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, forced organizer Informa Tech to cancel plans. The rescheduled GDC Summer event will serve as a replacement this August, provided that the coronavirus is no longer a factor.

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“Safety remains the GDC organizers’ paramount concern, and the GDC team will continue to monitor the latest information from health officials to ensure a safe and compelling event for everyone at GDC Summer, GDC 2021, and beyond,” Informa Tech said in an announcement.

Running from August 4 through 6 at San Francisco’s Moscone Center, GDC Summer will consist of several “microtalks” and fireside chats for developers to discuss their games, connect with other creators, and dive into technical content. The March GDC event was set to run for five days rather than three, so the new version will be shorter. It will still have a two-day expo show floor component on August 5 and 6.

A shorter show is to be expected, as many companies are already moving forward with the announcements and talks they phad lanned for GDC. Microsoft and Sony each held presentations this week on their upcoming consoles, the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, respectively.

The show will also have a new community partnership program that lets organizations apply for meeting and gathering space. Board meetings, podcast recordings, and portfolio reviews all typically take place during the annual conference and would qualify. The program is designed to let smaller organizations participate in GDC that otherwise wouldn’t be able to.

San Francisco has at least 70 confirmed coronavirus cases thus far, up more than double from the beginning of the week.

Organizers will also host a Virtual GDC. Running through Friday, March 20, the event features streamed talks from a variety of game developers to discuss their projects and the challenges they face. Recorded presentations are available on the official GDC Twitch channel, and Friday’s presentations include developers from Microsoft, Netease, and Unbound Creations.

The coronavirus already forced the Entertainment Software Association to cancel E3 2020 last week, even though the massive event was slated months out in June. Several game publishers, including Microsoft, Square Enix, and Ubisoft, already announced they will have replacement digital events to show off upcoming games.

Now gamers and the rest of the industry look to Gamescom 2020, which is currently scheduled for August. Gamescom has not been canceled, but the Germany-based conference sees hundreds of thousands of attendees each year, dwarfing both GDC and E3. With the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 globally, a cancellation of Gamescom wouldn’t be surprising.

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Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
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