Every Game Event Affected by Coronavirus So Far

With ongoing concerns about the spread of COVID-19 (a.k.a. Coronavirus), games companies are increasingly pulling out of major events for the protection of their employees and the public.Below is a list of dropouts, changes and cancellations at game shows across the world, forced by the current health crisis. We’ll update this story as and when more news emerges.

Taipei Game Show (February 6-9)

January 31: The organisers of Taipei Game Show – who had previously announced temperature checks and mandatory masks for attendees – announce that the show has been postponed to an unspecified date later this year. “We are deeply sorry to announce the difference decision from our committee,” said the organizers in a statement. “However, due to the serious outbreak of Wuhan coronavirus, we have decided to postpone the event to this summer.”

PAX East (February 27-March 1)

February 19: Sony announces that it will no longer attend PAX East in any capacity, including canceling the first public hands-on of The Last of Us Part 2.

February 20: Capcom cancels any developer involvement in the Monster Hunter Festa event, due to take place during PAX East. The event itself will still take place.

February 21: Square Enix scales back its PAX East showing, with no Japanese staff to attend the show. Final Fantasy developer and fan sessions are canceled, but other Square events at the show will continue as planned.

February 23: The mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh, sends an open letter to Sony, urging the company to reconsider its decision to skip PAX East. “These fears reinforce harmful stereotypes that generations of Asians have worked hard to dismantle,” reads Walsh’s letter.

February 25: CD Projekt Red cancels any travel for its employees to PAX East – however, the company had no public plans for the show.

Feburary 26: PUBG Corp. cancels its plans for PAX East, which included a bar happy hour for fans. ThatGameCompany, the developers of Sky: Children of the Light and Journey have also announced they will not attend PAX East over COVID-19 concerns.

Game Developers Conference (March 16-20)

February 20: Both PlayStation and Facebook Oculus announce that they will not attend GDC, cancelling all scheduled participation in the show. “[We are] removing our booth footprint and are advising all employees to refrain from travel during the show”, said an Oculus spokesperson.

February 20: GDC organisers say they “are confident that the Game Developers Conference will follow in the footsteps of other large and successful international events taking place at the Moscone Center.” However, they will enact “enhanced on-site measures” at the show, per CDC and WHO guidance.

February 24: Kojima Productions pulls out of GDC, cancelling two sessions at the show, including Hideo Kojima’s talk on the design philosophy of Death Stranding.

February 25: EA says it is also cancelling its participation with GDC, as well as “limiting attendance” to other unspecified events. The company will also restrict all non-essential travel for employees.

February 27: Unity has pulled out of GDC, opting to not have their booth or any physical presence at the event. They will instead share content online they have been working towards. Unity also said they’re, “advising all employees to refrain from traveling to GDC.”

February 27: Microsoft Game Stack and Epic Games have also announced they will not attend GDC 2020. In a Tweet, the company wrote, “Regrettably, uncertainty around health concerns has made it unviable to send our employees, and so we have made the difficult decision to withdraw attendance.”

February 27: Iron Galaxy Studios (Divekick, Killer Instinct) has also pulled out of the show. CEO Adam Boyes has called on GDC organisers to allow refunds to attendees who have pulled out over health concerns. “Many developers spend their hard earned money to attend, and they shouldn’t be punished for their caution”, wrote Boyes on Twitter.

February 28: Amazon announces that it will also withdraw from the 2020 GDC. “While we won’t get to see everyone at GDC this year, we still have exciting things to share. AWS Game Tech has decided to host a global online event, open to everyone, to showcase our planned content for GDC and more.”

February 28: Activision Blizzard announced that both sides of the business will be dropping out of GDC. “The health and well-being of our teams is our highest priority, and due to growing concerns related to COVID-19, Activision Blizzard is asking employees not to attend this year’s Game Developers Conference as we continue to monitor the situation.” Blizzard made a similar statement from its social media account.

EVE Fanfest (April 2-4)

February 28: Icelandic developer CCP announces that EVE Fanfest, the Reykjavik-based celebration of its enormous MMO, has been called off. “It is with a heavy heart that we make this decision,” writes a spokesperson for CCP, “and we know this news will be disappointing to our wonderful community, but we feel absolutely compelled to follow the most responsible course of action and prioritize the safety and well-being of our attendees, our staff and of course the general Icelandic public. We realize that the situation a month from now could be very different, but the way events are developing both globally and in Iceland’s neighboring countries, an in-depth and serious review has made it clear that this is a necessary step to take.”

F8 Conference (May 5-6)

February 27: Facebook cancels its own conference for developers. Director of platform partnerships Konstantinos Papamiltiadis wrote: “We explored other ways to keep the in-person part of F8, but it’s important to us to host an inclusive event and it didn’t feel right to have F8 without our international developers in attendance.” Facebook has insterad doubled its usual charitable donation to organisations that promote diversity in the tech industry, giving $500,000 to San Jose-based charities.

All the Big Games Coming in 2020

Coronavirus has seen other game-related setbacks, including a delay to The Outer Worlds on Switch, and Animal Crossing special edition console production being affected.
Joe Skrebels is IGN’s Executive Editor of News. Follow him on Twitter.

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