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GDC postponed due to coronavirus: What’s next?

gdc 2019
(Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Cross another tech gathering off your calendar. Next month’s Game Developer Conference is postponed, with organizers citing concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

“After close consultation with our partners in the game development industry and community around the world, we’ve made the difficult decision to postpone the Game Developers Conference this March,” organizers said in a note posted tonight (Feb. 28) on the GDC website.

Organizers say they intend to reschedule the event, which brings together game makers, for later in the summer. “We will be working with our partners to finalize the details and will share more information about our plans in the coming weeks,” the statement said.

GDC is a good opportunity to see what game makers have in the works, especially indie game makers who can get lost in the noise around larger gaming events like E3. GDC has also been the site of notable announcements such as last year when Google unveiled its Stadia gaming service and Oculus showed off its Oculus Rift S headset. 

However, with health experts discouraging both travel and gatherings of lots of people in confined venues as the coronavirus spreads, events like GDC are falling by the wayside. Exhibitors like Sony had already pulled out of GDC 2020 prior to Friday’s postponement. 

Already this month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was canceled amid coronavirus concerns and Facebook has already pulled the plug on its spring developers conference. Other events later in the spring — notably developer conferences for Microsoft, Google and Apple — are still moving ahead as scheduled, but if the coronavirus outbreak shows no signs of easing, questions about those events will start to be asked as well. 

Other potential events threatened by the coronavirus could include SXSW, scheduled for March in Austin. Apple is reportedly going to hold a press event toward the end of the month, too, where it could introduce the iPhone SE 2, and it's unclear if that would still take place, should coronavirus worries continue.

A coronavirus tracking site set up by Johns Hopkins lists more than 85,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus around the globe, with more than 2,900 deaths attributed to the disease. The biggest outbreaks have been reported in China, South Korea and Italy, though the U.S. has begun to see cases as well. The Associated Press says a second case of novel coronavirus transmitted to a person who didn't travel internationally or come into contact with someone else who had the disease has been confirmed in California.