The teams behind Sony’s PlayStation, Facebook Gaming, and the Oculus VR headset will not be in attendance at the Game Developers Conference 2020, in what is another blow to the video game industry from the new coronavirus outbreak.
Sony Interactive Entertainment, in a statement to GamesIndustry.biz, said that it has “made the difficult decision” to withdraw from GDC 2020 due to coronavirus concerns.
Sony also recently revealed that it was skipping PAX East in Boston, for the same reason.
“We are disappointed to cancel our participation, but the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern,” the company said in its statements for the cancellation of its participation in both events.
The Facebook Gaming team, including Oculus VR, has made the same decision, withdrawing from participation in GDC 2020 because of the”evolving public health risks” brought by the coronavirus, according to a statement emailed by a Facebook spokesperson to Polygon.
Facebook Gaming and Oculus VR, however, will still share its planned announcements for the annual event through videos, online Q&As, and other methods. They were supposed to put up booths and send employees to GDC 2020, and meetings with partners that were supposed to happen at the event will be hosted remotely over the coming weeks.
In an earlier statement, the GDC revealed that Chinese exhibitors will have to send North American personnel to the show, as Chinese citizens will not be able to participate due to travel restrictions. The organizers also revealed that stringent health security measures will be applied, including electrostatic disinfectant sprayers in busy areas, frequent wipe-downs of items that are touched a lot, and encouraging attendees to often wash hands and exhibitors to regularly disinfect equipment such as controllers and headsets.
However, it appears that the promised measures are not enough to assure PlayStation, Facebook Gaming, and the Oculus VR team that their personnel will be safe from the health risks brought about by the coronavirus outbreak.
As of now, GDC 2020 will still push through from March 16 to March 20 in San Francisco, unlike this year’s Mobile World Congress, which was supposed to run from February 24 to February 27 in Barcelona.