Microsoft withdraws from GDC gaming conference in San Francisco due to Coronavirus
After Facebook cancelled its prestigious F8 Developer Conference in San Jose in May, Microsoft has now announced it will skip the Game Developers' Conference (GDC) scheduled to be held in San Francisco from March 16 to 20, owing to the coronavirus concerns.
"After a close review of guidance by global health authorities and out of an abundance of caution, we've made the difficult decision to withdraw from participating at Game Developers Conference 2020 in San Francisco," the company said on its Game Stack Blog on Thursday.
"The health and safety of players, developers, employees, and our partners around the world is our top priority. Especially as the world is experiencing growing public health risks associated with coronavirus (COVID-19)," Microsoft added.
Microsoft will host a digital-only event that will feature the majority of its planned game developer sessions and experiences, which will be streamed live and available on demand. Other companies who backed out from the gaming conference are Facebook, Unity, Sony and Epic Games.
"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," said the company.
The city officials in San Francisco have declared a state of emergency owing to the COVID-19 outbreak that has affected several big tech industry conferences. Amid the growing fear of coronavirus outbreak in the US, Facebook on Thursday announced the cancellation of its prestigious F8 developer conference.
The annual conference, attended by developers from across the world, was slated to be organised in San Jose on May 5-6. "We plan to replace the in-person F8 event with locally-hosted events, videos and live-streamed content," Facebook said.
Facebook has already cancelled 'Global Marketing Summit' in San Francisco that was scheduled from March 9-12. Over 5,000 participants were expected to attend the event. Several tech companies have either postponed or cancelled their events in the wake of rising coronavirus threat that has killed over 2,700 people, and infected nearly 80,000.
*Edited from an IANS report