Shortly after CES 2020 welcomed the new year with amazing products and innovative tech, the industry's attention shifted to two big events in February. One was Samsung's Unpacked in San Francisco, California and the other was the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain. Despite the rising COVID-19 infections at the time the debut of the Galaxy S20 series and Galaxy Z Flip pushed through with safeguards in place. However, the telecommunications expo was ultimately cancelled after top exhibitors pulled out. Now, the Game Developer Conference (GDC) next month appears to be facing a similar scenario.

A week ago, the first hint of companies dropping out came when Facebook and Sony confirmed non-attendance. Moreover, the latter also notified organisers of PAX East 2020 that it cannot participate. Meanwhile, shortly before Microsoft made a partial reveal of Xbox Series X details, the company was listed for a special presentation at GDC 2020 to discuss its innovation related to audio signal processing.

Unfortunately, the Redmond, Washington-based tech group recently announced that it will likewise step back from next month's GDC. Its decision was brought about by the rising cases of COVID-19 infections in the US. What followed were more cancellations as "Death Stranding" developer Kojima Productions made its announcement via Twitter, while EA gave its statement during an interview, as reported by Forbes.

In fact, gaming industry analysts have predicted that this unfortunate trend will continue until the epidemic is under control. Even after the companies pulled out, organisers of the gaming-oriented event next month assure the public that there are no plans to reschedule or cancel. Health officials, on the other hand, are urging people not to attend large gatherings that can increase the risk of widespread infection of the virus.

Coronavirus fear stalls joint exercise
South Korea has declared its highest "severe" alert level over the new coronavirus outbreak. Photo: AFP / Jung Yeon-je

Even though there are no reported cases of COVID-19 in San Francisco, Mayor London Breed reportedly declared a state of emergency. This move apparently allows emergency responders more flexibility when it comes to treating people who might become infected. Those who are attending the GDC 2020 next month should take necessary precautions to safeguard their well being at all times. In last year's event, over 29,000 people were in attendance.