After GDC was cancelled due to coronavirus concerns, organizer Informa Tech is now planning a three-day replacement event called GDC Summer for August 4 - 6. The event will be held at San Francisco's Moscone Center, the same location as GDC itself.
"GDC Summer will be a unique Game Developers Conference experience but will retain the same high level of expert-led talks as the traditional GDC," Informa Tech says. "GDC Summer’s conference program will consist of high-quality technical content, mixed with valuable roundtable discussions to foster conversation and connection. The event will host a new series of microtalks and fireside chats, as well as a dedicated space for comprehensive career development sessions covering topics such as how to pitch your game, effective communication strategies, how to land an investor/publisher and business development strategies." The event is also planning an open expo show floor for August 5 and 6.
"GDC Summer will give the game development community a chance to come together in a way that hasn’t currently been possible due to COVID-19," Informa Tech adds. "Safety remains the GDC organizers’ paramount concern and the GDC team will continue to monitor the latest information from health officials to ensure a safe and compelling event for everyone at GDC Summer, GDC 2021 and beyond.
GDC Summer has been pitched as a shorter, condensed substitute for the traditional event, which sounds suitable on paper, but there are several big questions hovering around it. For starters, it's unclear whether the coronavirus pandemic and its far-reaching effects will have subsided by early August. One would hope, but with many states, including California, still struggling to assemble and enact a proper plan of action, there's no real way to predict how summer will play out.
There's also the question of who will be able to attend. Even if coronavirus is no longer a public danger come August, there's no guarantee that the developers who attend GDC will show up for GDC Summer. GDC's abrupt cancellation was a huge blow to many, financially and otherwise, especially for independent studios with smaller event and travel budgets. For those developers, I'd imagine it's not as easy as taking their GDC plans and slotting them as-is into GDC Summer.
Gamescom 2020 is still on schedule despite new coronavirus measures.