Facebook Cancels F8 Conference Over Fears Of A Coronavirus Outbreak
The company announced that Oculus will be backing out of GDC over similar concerns.
As fears of a Coronavirus pandemic continue to dominate the news cycle, Facebook today confirmed that the company will not be holding its somewhat-annual F8 developers conference this year over concerns of a potential outbreak.
Originally scheduled to take place May 4th through the 6th at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California, Facebook states in an official blog update that it will be canceling the in-person element of the conference in order to remain inclusive to the many international developers who make their way to the event each year.
“This was a tough call to make — F8 is an incredibly important event for Facebook and it’s one of our favorite ways to celebrate all of you from around the world — but we need to prioritize the health and safety of our developer partners, employees and everyone who helps put F8 on,” states the company in the official release. “We explored other ways to keep the in-person part of F8, but it’s important to us to host an inclusive event and it didn’t feel right to have F8 without our international developers in attendance.”
In lieu of an in-person conference, Facebook states that it will be providing many of the same programs and services it normally would during F8 through a combination of locally-hosted events, videos and livestreams, educational workshops, charitable donations, and other F8-inspired experiences.
“Every year, we donate a portion of F8 ticket sales to an organization working to diversify the tech industry,” adds Facebook. “This year, we’re doubling that donation amount to $500,000 and will prioritize organizations serving local San Jose residents.”
Facebook’s decision to cancel F8 comes on the heels of news that Oculus would be backing out of this year’s Game Developers Conference over similar concerns. The company will instead make a series of digital announcements remotely. Sony, Microsoft, EA, and several other major names are reportedly skipping this year’s conference as well.
Besides live events, the coronavirus has had a significant impact on the production of numerous VR headsets as well, including the Oculus Quest and Valve Index.
“With Half-Life: Alyx coming March 23rd, we are working hard to meet demand for the Valve Index and want to reassure everyone that Index systems will be available for purchase prior to the game’s launch,” stated Valve in the official release. “However, the global Coronavirus health crisis has impacted our production schedules so we will have far fewer units for sale during the coming months compared to the volumes we originally planned. Our entire team is working hard right now to maximize availability. To receive a notification as soon as the Valve Index is back in stock, please visit Steam and click “Notify Me.””
This week it was reported that cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed on every continent excluding Antarctica, with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention reporting 72,314 coronavirus cases in mainland China alone as of February 11th. With Japan having already closed all its schools for the next month over concerns of an outbreak, COVID-19 is proving to be a major global concern.
For more information on how to keep yourself protected, check out these tips from the World Health Organization.
Image Credit: Maurizio Pesce/Wikimedia Commons, Valve Corporation