Microsoft latest company to pull out of GDC 2020 due to coronavirus concerns

Phil Spencer
Phil Spencer (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft Game Stack announced it's pulling out of GDC due to coronavirus concerns.
  • The company is moving a lot of its sessions online to a digital-only event.
  • Microsoft follows Sony, Facebook, Unity, and others that have pulled out of the annual conference.

That's another one down. Microsoft's Game Stack team announced Thursday that it won't be attending the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco on account of coronavirus concerns.

The company made the announcement on its Game Stack 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. 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).

The post continues to say that a lot of its "planned game developer sessions and experiences" will be available to watch online in a digital event to take place March 16-18. That'll take place on Microsoft's website. It also confirmed that Gaming for Everyone, the company's diversity initiative, won't be taking place online.

More: Here are all the companies that have pulled out of GDC 2020 over coronavirus concerns

It's unclear if this affects all of Microsoft's presence at GDC or if segments like ID@Xbox will be unaffected. We've reached out to Microsoft for comment and will update if we hear back.

Update 1:05 p.m. PT: The ID@Xbox Showcase is also canceled, per a statement from Microsoft: "In keeping with Microsoft's decision to withdraw from participating in GDC, we are also cancelling the Xbox Preview Event in San Francisco and ID@Xbox GDC Showcase. We are exploring alternative plans for games and will share more details in the short term."

Microsoft joins other companies like Sony, Facebook, Kojima Productions, and Unity, which all pulled out of the conference for health reasons.

The world has been feeling the impacts of the coronavirus. According to the Washington Post, markets are down, schools are closing, and the number of those infected continues to rise. On Wednesday, the first reported case of coronavirus with "unknown origin" (the patient didn't travel to regions hit by the outbreak or come into contact with anybody known to have it) was confrimed in Northern California.

It's also hit the games industry with noted delays and esports league cancelations.

On the business side, Microsoft issued a warning Wednesday that it didn't expect to meet its guidance for Windows OEM and Surface revenues for the third fiscal quarter and that its "supply chair is returning to normal operations at a slower pace than anticipated."

Currently, GDC 2020 is set to go on as planned from March 16-20.



Carli Velocci
Gaming Lead, Copy Chief

Carli is the Gaming Editor and Copy Chief across Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore. Her last name also will remind you of a dinosaur. Follow her on Twitter or email her at