Microsoft will not be attending the Game Developers Conference 2020 for on-site events because of concerns regarding the Coronavirus, the company announced on Thursday. Like others who were also planning on attending GDC and other major gaming events happening soon, Microsoft said it won't have an on-site presence at the event that's geared towards those who work on games. Instead, Microsoft has elected to hold a digital-only event from March 16th to March 18th where it'll hold most of the game developer sessions which were originally planned. Microsoft's withdrawal from the event puts them alongside other major companies who have also pulled out due to health 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," 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 offered a preview of some of the discussions and presentations that it'll hold during the online event. Cloud-based technology and game development will be talked about along with panels about next-gen hardware and where streaming is heading in the future. Those interested in the development of some of Microsoft's biggest games will also get behind-the-scenes looks at the works from studios like Rare and Undead Labs who made Sea of Thieves and State of Decay 2, respectively.
"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."
A full schedule of the events taking place online will be shared by the Microsoft Game Stack team at a later date.
Sony, Microsoft's largest rival when it comes to games and consoles, also will not be attending GDC 2020, the company announced last week. Electronic Arts among others who you'd typically expect to see at the event will also not attend it for the same reason as Microsoft.
Microsoft's digital event will be held on March 16th and March 18th.