Coronavirus takes down GDC and is impacting SXSW, is E3 next
Thursday, March 5, 2020
GDC announced that they were postponing the weeklong event, Game Developers Conference indefinitely, which was scheduled to kick off March 16. GDC was expected to host over 30,000 attendees and they intend to reschedule this event for later in the Summer. Other tech conferences in the US are also being effected.
San Francisco and the tech industry felt trembles and it wasn’t an earthquake or Godzilla, it was Coronavirus flexing its muscle as the leadership at GDC announced at the end of last week that they were postponing the weeklong Game Developers Conference indefinitely, which was scheduled to kick off March 16. That means that over 30,000 people won’t be attending the event, a big economic impact on the event organizers and the city of San Francisco.
Here was their statement:
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.
Having spent the past year preparing for the show with our advisory boards, speakers, exhibitors, and event partners, we're genuinely upset and disappointed not to be able to host you at this time.
We want to thank all our customers and partners for their support, open discussions and encouragement. As everyone has been reminding us, great things happen when the community comes together and connects at GDC. For this reason, we fully intend to host a GDC event 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.
Austin and SWSX are feeling the impact as well. As reported by the Austin Statesman, a number of companies are cancelling plans to attend the 10-day event which starts on March 13 including Facebook, Twitter, Indeed, Mashable, SAP, and others. 2019 saw 73,716 SXSW conference attendees according to SWSX organizers and the region stands to take a significant economic hit if more companies decide to cancel their attendance.
SWSX has created a COVID-19 Response Page on its website and states, “Regarding the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak: SXSW is working closely on a daily basis with local, state, and federal agencies to plan for a safe event. As a result of this dialogue and the recommendations of Austin Public Health, we are proceeding with the 2020 event with the health and safety of our attendees, staff, and volunteers as our top priority.”
The West Expo, which is held in Anaheim, California and is host to over 80,000 attendees, just announced this weekend that it too is postponing its event just days before the event kickoff. Facebook has also cancelled its F8 developer conference and Google has cancelled its Google I/O developer conference.
Interestingly, 45,000 people in the healthcare community will be converging on Orlando, Florida on March 9 for the HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition and their website doesn’t directly address Coronavirus. The latest March 3 mention is in a post on the news section of the site and is blended with a number of press announcements on the event’s press page.
Since the health care community should have the latest and best information available on the dangers of travel and COVID-19, it will be interesting to see how many people actually attend. Especially with the announcement that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has directed Florida State Health Officer and Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees to declare a public health emergency in Florida on March 1.
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