Facebook and Sony are withdrawing from participation in GDC due to concerns surrounding the Coronavirus.
“We’re removing Facebook Gaming and Oculus booth footprints and advising all employees to refrain from travel during the show, ” a statement from the company reads.
Facebook is the latest major company to withdraw from a technology conference due to concerns surrounding COVID-19. Gamesindustry.biz also reported Sony is withdrawing from the conference as well. These are unlikely to be the last companies to withdraw from the event. Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was to be held next week before it was entirely cancelled and the Game Developers Conference, aka GDC, is slated for March 16 to 20.
“We had a minimal activation PAX East, but due to concerns around COVID-19, we’re unable to send any employees to support the activation. We’re eager to attend and participate in future PAX events,” a Facebook spokesperson added.
Facebook also said recently it expected an impact on production of its Oculus Quest standalone VR headset due to the virus and the AR startup Tilt Five said the earliest shipments to backers of its tabletop kit could be impacted as well.
Regarding GDC, Facebook elaborated in a blog post:
We still plan to share the exciting announcements we had planned for the show, but in a digital format with videos, online Q&As, and more. We’re excited to share and celebrate the accomplishments of our developer partners, and we’re happy that even more people can join in online. Stay tuned for more details!
This was a difficult decision, but it’s the right call to make at this time. As always, we’ll have more to share in the weeks ahead.