PlayStation and Facebook Oculus announced the two companies will pull out of this year’s Game Developers Conference due to concerns about COVID-19, or more infamously known as the coronavirus.
“We have made the difficult decision to cancel our participation in Game Developers Conference due to increasing concerns related to COVID-1,” a representative of PlayStation said to IGN. “We felt this was the best option as the situation related to the virus and global travel restrictions are changing daily. We are disappointed to cancel our participation, but the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern. We look forward to participating in GDC in the future.”
Facebook also said something similar to IGN that the company will be “removing our booth footprint and are advising all employees to refrain from travel during the show.”
The two companies leaving the industry-wide event that takes place in San Fransisco between March 16 through 20 will not stop the conference. A spokesperson spoke to IGN about the current plan since these announcements.
“The GDC team is following developments around the Novel Coronavirus closely as we take the health and safety of our game development community very seriously. Following the strict quarantine laws put in place by the US government and guidance from the Department of Public Health, WHO and CDC, which has seen us put in place enhanced on-site measures, we 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. As always, we thank the GDC community for their support and look forward to welcoming back those who haven’t been able to join us this year.”
The skipping of GDC shortly follows Sony skipping PAX East over the same concerns, leaving out the opportunity for gamers to try games like The Last of Us Part II and the remake of Final Fantasy VII. The industry as a whole has getting impacted by the virus that originated in China as the port to the Switch for The Outer Worlds got delayed, and esports events have had to shut down too.