Facebook cancelled the physical portion of its F8 developer conference which was slated for May due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus, COVID-19.
Unity and Epic, the companies behind the two biggest videogame development toolsets, also cancelled their appearances at the Game Developers Conference in March. Earlier Facebook, Sony and a growing list of developers cancelled plans to attend.
We’ve made the tough decision to cancel our on-the-ground activity at GDC 2020, due to current conditions with COVID-19. The health and safety of our employees, partners and friends is our top priority. More info to come on what we’ll be sharing online. https://t.co/xkujzb4v5c
— Unity for Games ➡️ #GDC23 (@unitygames) February 27, 2020
Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was completely cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns and plans for future events and travel are changing on a daily basis as a growing list of public events are affected by health concerns.
Here at Epic we were excited about participating in GDC 2020. Regrettably, uncertainty around health concerns has made it unviable to send our employees, and so we have made the difficult decision to withdraw attendance.
Stay tuned for Epic news and more through other channels.
— Unreal Engine 🔜 GDC (@UnrealEngine) February 27, 2020
Production of both the Valve Index and Oculus Quest VR headsets were also affected by the coronavirus and questions are being raised about a growing list of products and events planned throughout 2020.
Facebook in particular is expected at some point to accept submissions to its store for its experimental hand tracking while also planning to launch the Horizon social networking service. Those are both software-based advances which could conceivably move forward in the coming weeks and months.
“In light of the growing concerns around COVID-19, we’ve made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person component of F8 this year, in order to prioritize the health and safety of our developer partners, employees and everyone who helps put F8 on. We plan to replace the in-person F8 event with locally hosted events, videos and live-streamed content,” a statement from Facebook explains.
The global effects of the coronavirus continue to cascade in unexpected ways and cause plans to change on an almost daily basis. We’ll keep you updated with future developments.