• Microsoft said it would be skipping the annual gaming conference in a post on its official blog due to growing concerns over coronavirus exposure
  • It will host a "digital-only event" for some of its planned panels and showcases in place of attending the event
  • PlayStation, Facebook Oculus, Electronic Arts, Epic Games, Kojima Productions, and Unity are also skipping the 2020 Game Developers Conference

Microsoft Thursday joined the list of companies skipping the 2020 Game Developers Conference over growing concerns related to the coronavirus.

Microsoft shared the news with a post on its official blog.

“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,” Microsoft said. “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 joins PlayStation, Epic Games, Kojima Productions, Unity, Electronic Arts, and Facebook Oculus in skipping the event.

In place of its planned presentations, Microsoft will host a “digital-only event” March 16-18. It will show off most of the “sessions and experiences” originally planned as part of their 2020 GDC presence. These include a behind the scenes look at Xbox Game Studios developers, panel discussions about the evolution of game development and the growth of the cloud.

However, Microsoft has not confirmed the status of its annual ID@Xbox event and a general games showcase later this year.

“GDC has long been a moment for us to come together and celebrate Gaming for Everyone with our many vibrant communities,” Microsoft said. “While we won’t be able to bring our G4E events online, we remain committed to celebrating and amplifying our diverse communities in gaming throughout the year.”

GDC organizers told reporters in response they “are confident that Game Developers Conference will follow in the footsteps of other large and successful international events taking place at the Moscone Center.” They also said there are no plans to cancel the event.

Microsoft became the latest tech firm to warn of a financial hit from the global coronavirus epidemic
Microsoft AFP / Josh Edelson