Feb 21, 2020 - Technology

Coronavirus forces more companies to skip tech conferences

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Sony and Oculus parent Facebook both said on Thursday that they are pulling out of next month's Game Developer Conference in San Francisco over coronavirus concerns. Meanwhile, AT&T and Verizon are joining IBM in skipping next week's RSA security conference in San Francisco.

The big picture: While these two shows are still slated to continue, other events have been scrapped altogether, including Barcelona's Mobile World Congress, one of the tech industry’s biggest global events, and Facebook's global marketing conference.

What they're saying:

  • Facebook/Oculus: "We're removing our booth footprint and advising all employees to refrain from traveling to the show. We plan to host GDC partner meetings remotely in the coming weeks."
  • Sony (per gamesindustry.biz): "We felt this was the best option as the situation related to the virus and global travel restrictions are changing daily. We are disappointed to cancel our participation, but the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern. We look forward to participating in GDC in the future."
  • GDC organizers: "We believe that, based on the strict U.S. quarantine around coronavirus and a large number of enhanced on-site measures, we are able to execute a safe and successful event for our community."

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Facebook cancels F8 conference over coronavirus concerns

Photo: Andrej Sokolow/picture alliance via Getty Images

Facebook has canceled its annual developer conference in San Jose, scheduled for May 5–6, due to concerns over the coronavirus, the company said on Thursday.

The big picture: Facebook's F8 is the latest tech conference to be canceled over these health concerns given the international nature of its attendees. Mobile World Congress, the annual confab in Barcelona, was also canceled, as was another small Facebook conference, while a number of major sponsors have pulled out of other events, like the RSA security conference and the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Big video game conference delayed amid coronavirus concerns

Photo: GDC

Next month's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco became the latest tech event to be cancelled or postponed amid growing concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The big picture: A growing number of events are being scrapped, including Mobile World Congress and Facebook's F8 developer conference. Some, like the giant SXSW event in Austin, insist they are moving forward.

Scoop: Coronavirus forces TED conference to delay or go digital

Photo: Ina Fried/Axios

The TED conference in Vancouver is the latest major gathering to be affected by the coronavirus, with organizers telling Axios they plan to either postpone the event or hold a digital-only gathering.

Why it matters: The high-profile weeklong conference brings together some of the biggest names in tech, entertainment and business.