Over the past month, at greater and greater pace, games events and happenings have been disrupted by precautionary measures against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. E3 is off, GDC is postponed… this year’s PC gaming calendar is looking quite different. We’ve posted about some of these as they cropped up but it’s hard to follow in drips and drabs. So! Here’s a long list of effects on games events, game development, esports, and more in response to Covid-19 concerns.
Since its discovery in December 2019, the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (which causes the disease Covid-19) has spread to 123 countries and territories. On Wednesday, the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic and urged governments to take serious action. While official responses from North America and the UK are still pretty lax, many companies are formulating their own responses, including working from home and–especially relevant in games–cancelling large events.
This is just about the logistical impacts. I can dispense no medical advice or insight. For that, I refer you to the WHO, NHS England, and NHS Scotland. I hope you and yours are well. But a big list of video game goings-on? That is within my purview.
So much has gone down that I’m sure I’ve missed a few things. Loads of events were postponed today alone! This list can only be noncomprehensive, but it is quite long.
E3 2020 is cancelled
The year’s biggest marketing bonanza will return in 2021. The organiser say they’re looking into some sort of “online experience”, though all the big E3 announcements come from events the publishers host themselves anyway. It really shouldn’t be that different for folks at home?
GDC 2020 postponed
The 2020 Game Developers Conference was due to take place March 15-20 in San Francisco. Instead, the organisers plan to share some presentations online, then hold some sort of event this summer. Microsoft will stream all their GDC talks too. A fundraising organising a relief fund to help indie developers who blew money on attending.
Bafta Games Awards going online
No red carpet ceremony for the UK games industry this year. That’s fine; the fashion is usually not great.
HTC holding a VR conference in VR
This year’s Vive Ecosystem Conference will be held in cyberspace. Before then, it’s been in China.
Digital Dragons is postponed
The Polish games industry conference is pushed back to September.
Games First London 2020 is cancelled
I honestly had not heard of this development conference.
Nvidia GTC 2020 will now be online
This year’s GPU Technology Conference had been due to happen in San Jose, now it’ll all be done digitally March 22-26.
EGX Rezzed is postponed
The London games show is pushed back from this month to some time this summer.
Now Play This is postponed
Due to run April 3-5, the playful and experimental London festival is now planned for autumn. Everyone’s getting a refund.
Minecraft Festival is postponed
The fan event wasn’t happening until September but Mojang say they were “not making any predictions about how long it will take to put the outbreak behind us.”
Eve Fanfest cancelled
The annual fan gathering was due in April. Refunds for all!
A Maze postponed
Berlin’s weird indie gamesblast is pushed back from April to July.
Nordic Game Jam is postponed
It was due to run April 16-19. The Danish government issued a national lockdown and advised against large gatherings so, well. Refunds are open to all.
SXSW isn’t super-strong on games but March’s event would have a spread including a Sonic panel and an arcade.
BitSummit is off
The Japanese indie games event was going down in May.
Taipei Games Show postponed
It was expected to bring a new look at FromSoftware’s Elden Ring, among other things. Now it’s delayed to summer.
TennoCon is cancelled
Warfame’s fan convention is technically “going fully digital”, planning online stuff to replace the con.
Valve Index production held up
Valve say they’ll have fewer VR kits available than planned over the coming months.
Bungie letting employees work from home
This in a week they launched a new content season. Ooft! They say they’ve got it covered.
Microsoft encourage many employees to work from home
They have offices around the world so policies vary, but broadly they want lots of folks to work from home when possible.
PC Engine Core Grafx indefinitely delayed
That’s Konami’s nostalgic mini-console, which now is held up in manufacturing. It has “PC” in the name! Unless you know it by the western name, TurboGrafx-16 Mini, in which case it doesn’t.
Nintendo Switch manufacturing was disrupted too
Okay, this really isn’t about PC, but while I’m at it…
Development continues even under quarantine
Alexis Ong had a cracking look at effects of Chinese quarantines on indie developers there.
Discord increased its screensharing limit
To help people working or studying from home, Discord have upped the screensharing limit from 10 people to 50. That’s helpful for holding classes online, working online, or just plain having human contact online.
AT&T suspended broadband caps and usage charges
Now that more Americans are expecting to be working from home, the ISP actually did something good for once. The caps are well rubbo, so good riddance.
Rocket League World Championship cancelled
Then after a little thought, Psyonix decided to make the Regional Championships “the pinnacle of Season 9” and pump extra money from Worlds into their prize pools.
Overwatch League taking March and April off
Blizzard have cancelled a few matches since the outbreak started, first in China and then South Korea, and now have called off everything for March and April.
Dota 2 Major postponed
March’s event in Los Angeles is off.
Loads of LoL is off
League was one of the first digital sports to have events binned, starting in January. Lots more have been scrapped since then. Most recently, the European Championship suspended its spring season and the Championship Series scrapped live events.
Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2020 had no audience
Polish authorities revoked IEM Katowice’s mass event license 15 hours before it started, meaning the ESL Pro Tour matches went ahead without the 11,000-strong crowd.
EA cancelled a load of Apex Legends and Fifa
Some events are postponed and some are actually still going ahead, but a few are just gone.
Hearthstone’s Masters Tour Los Angeles has gone online-only
Blizzard had initially moved it from Indonesia to the USA, thinking that would be less of a health risk, but since admitted yeah no. They’re going to reimburse competitors up to $1500 for travel booked.
Capcom Pro Tour cancelled some events and postponed others
No streetfighting in Belgium, the USA, or Taiwan.
Call Of Duty League takes matches online
Live events will return “as soon as it is safe and logistically possible.”
Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds postponed PGS: Berlin
They said they do still plan to fit four global digisports events into 2020.
NBA 2K League’s 2020 season postponed
Instead, they’ll run preseason games in preparation for the real deal.
Disclosure: I’m part of a group which was to run an event at GDC; EGX Rezzed is organised by our corporate siblings and we were to host sessions and streams there; and Now Play This is also organised by some pals of mine.