Following the ongoing global spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, there has been ongoing pressure on event organizers from both attendees and local groups to curtail or cancel events out of concern of major events rapidly propagating the virus. We’ve already seen major international shows like Mobile World Congress canceled due to these reasons, and now with the novel coronavirus spreading in more western countries as well – including the United States – the spread is now leading to additional, more local events being canceled.

This afternoon the organizers behind the 2020 Game Developers Conference (GDC), as well as the organizers behind the 2020 Open Compute Project (OCP) Global Summit have announced that they have scrubbed their respective events, which were scheduled to take place next month. OCP’s event has been canceled entirely, meanwhile the GDC organizers are officially postponing their event, with hopes of still holding it in the summer.

The latest cancelations come as additional vendors have been pulling out of GDC. Sony and Facebook had previously pulled out last week, and this week has seen Microsoft, Epic Games, Amazon, and Activision all pull out of the show as well. Which would still leave a large show like GDC with a significant content slate, but none the less the giants of the show have a great importance to it.

In lieu of holding their events as planned, both groups are looking at what they can to help their participants still make their respective announcements and hold their talks. The OCP team has told participants that they “would like to work with you on following through with those announcements to the Community, and the industry at large, over the next week.” Meanwhile on top of conducting a summer event, GDC organizers are hoping to distribute talks over their YouTube channel and their content vault, telling attendees that “In order to allow our conference speakers to still participate in the event, we are intending to make many of the presentations that would have been given at GDC 2020 available for free online.” Both groups seem to be flying by the seat of their pants to a certain degree, but hopefully we’ll see their remote presentation plans come to fruition.

These cancelations are among the latest events to get canceled in the technology industry. On top of these large, public events, within AnandTech we’ve seen some smaller, press-only events canceled as well. So while not every last event has been canceled at this time – notably, NVIDIA’s 2020 GPU Technology Conference is still on – it’s increasingly looking like the tech industry is going to be taking a widescale break on events throughout March.

Sources: Open Compute Project, GDC
Carousel Image Courtesy of: CDC/Alissa Eckert, MS

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  • kulareddy - Saturday, February 29, 2020 - link

    On the flip side of your argument there will be thousands of furloughed workers with no wages and families to feed. And by the planet doesn't give a damn about us, by polluting, we causing harm to ourselves not the planet. It (planet) was there before us and will be here after.
  • mode_13h - Saturday, February 29, 2020 - link

    Planet is not literally referring to the minerals and water on which we stand, but its life-sustaining capacity and ecosystems. You're not helping anything by being so obtuse.

    As for the people living on it, the potential climate change has for causing poverty, starvation, and other forms of human misery (wars, etc.) is far beyond the scale of economic impacts potentially caused by this viral outbreak & the corresponding societal reactions to it.
  • Threska - Saturday, February 29, 2020 - link

    Must be referring to this. Not a good way to solve a problem.
  • mode_13h - Saturday, February 29, 2020 - link

    It's not even a solution, since it's fundamentally short-term.

    A more deadly virus would present a potential long-term solution, but no one can seriously endorse this option (not unless you're a supervillain, anyway). And we need to learn to control greenhouse emissions anyway, or else we'll be in an even worse spot when the population inevitably bounces back.
  • TristanSDX - Saturday, February 29, 2020 - link

    people soon discover, they do not need games at all
  • Threska - Saturday, February 29, 2020 - link

    We will if we're going to be spending a lot of time at home.
  • mode_13h - Saturday, February 29, 2020 - link

    Yeah, get your gaming PC upgrades, ASAP.

    Forget about the upcoming consoles, as their launches could be delayed (and might come too late, anyhow).
  • Threska - Saturday, February 29, 2020 - link

    Had this conversation elsewhere.* As pandemics become more common we'll see all forms of remote (where applicable) from the telecommuting that's already being used, to VR conventions, and even teleconferencing by groups and businesses. Not to mention a boost in automation since machines don't get sick.

    *They argued face-time, and perks of going places were more important. Pandemics might make that untenable though. After all staying alive is the most important thing.
  • mode_13h - Saturday, February 29, 2020 - link

    We'll see. I'm not convinced such pandemics will suddenly become the norm. Also, the more this kind of thing happens, the more quickly and effectively society will learn to respond.

    I doubt this is the end of trade shows, rock concerts, or cruise ships. Just as the 1918 flu pandemic didn't end urban living, this will come & go, leaving few traces on the modern lifestyle.

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