Microsoft and Sony have announced their withdrawal from GDC 2020 (Game Developers Conference), Facebook announces cancellation of F8 Developers Conference, MWC 2020 (Mobile World Congress), Geneva Motor Show cancels event. Behind the pause button slots on these international conferences, they point to the “epidemic factor”. And the meetings that have been affected by the outbreak of new coronary pneumonia have more than that.
In the context of globalization, the cancellation of these international conferences will affect not only the organizers and exhibitors, and the losses will be as much as the dominoes, affecting various industries.
Under the outbreak, the conference was difficult to hold
As of May 31, 2020, there are expected to be 11 international technology conferences, including GDC 2020, Google I/O, Microsoft Build 2020, Code Conference, and more, according to the techmeme website.
Of these, GDC 2020 has received exit announcements from a number of technology companies, including Microsoft, Sony, Facebook, Epic Games, and Chinese game makers (about 2% of the total).
After careful scrutiny by the Global Health Agency, we made the difficult decision to withdraw from the 2020 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. The health and safety of gamers, developers, employees and our partners around the world is our top priority, especially as the world is experiencing public health risks associated with coronaviruses.
However, even if multiple game vendors are absent from the GDC conference, gDC organizers have indicated that the GDC 2020 conference will take place as scheduled from March 16 to 20, 2020.
On the other hand, Facebook has announced the cancellation of the F8 developer conference, which was scheduled for May 5-6, 2020. Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, Facebook’s director of developer platforms and projects, said in a statement:
It was a tough decision – F8 was a very important convention for Facebook and one of our favorite ways to celebrate developers around the world – but we need to prioritize the health and safety of our development partners, our employees and everyone who helps them host the F8.
It can be seen that these international conferences are facing great challenges under the impact of the new corona epidemic.
As of 14 o’clock on February 28, 2020, the cumulative number of confirmed cases in China reached 78,959, and the cumulative number of cured persons reached 36,193, which shows that the situation is not optimistic from the situation within the outbreak in our country.
Looking at the international situation, there are currently 912 confirmed cases in Japan, 2022 confirmed cases in South Korea, and the South Korean government has raised the outbreak crisis warning level to the highest “severe” level. In Europe, the number of confirmed cases in Italy has risen from 3 to 655 in a few days. In addition, the United States, the host of several international conferences, has a cumulative number of confirmed cases of 60.
At present, the new coronal outbreak has not yet found a clear treatment, and vaccine development has not made final progress, therefore, the outbreak prevention and control is still in a state of progress.
In addition, according to Zhong Nanshan academician, the new crown outbreak is not expected to be under basic control until the end of April. The upcoming meeting around April, affected by the new corona outbreak, will make it more difficult to hold it as scheduled.
First of all, from the perspective of health and safety, in the new crown epidemic is still spreading situation, the conference needs to take a variety of safety measures, including on-site disinfection, medical support and protection in the venue.
Moreover, from the travel level, affected by the new crown epidemic, some countries and regions on the movement of people, travel has taken strict control measures, travel inconvenience has become one of the difficulties of the meeting.
Under the influence of many aspects, the absence of manufacturers, the decline of the audience has become inevitable, and these things happen, the smooth holding of the meeting, will be a major challenge.
What is the effect of a meeting where the Pause key is pressed?
Currently, the 12 international technology conferences expected to be held, including the F8 Developers Conference, have not yet been explicitly announced by most of the conference organizers, with the exception of Facebook, which has announced cancellations. In fact, if the meeting is not held as scheduled due to the impact of the new crown epidemic, it will not only cause damage to the organizers, but also affect exhibitors, spectators and even other related industries.
In the case of the MWC Congress (Mobile World Congress), on 13 February 2020, the MWC Conference host GSMA (Global Mobile Communications Systems Association) announced the cancellation of the MWC Conference, which had been scheduled for 24 February in Barcelona.
In previous years, the MWC Conference generated up to 492 million euros (approximately 3.73 billion yuan) in revenue. And, based on the MWC conference, it has created nearly 14,100 jobs in Barcelona.
Now, with the abolition of the General Assembly, the expected value has dissipated into a bubble.
Not only that, but for GSMA, it’s not just the expected benefits, it’s the pre-conference input. Sources say the economic damage from the cancellation of MWC 2020 is estimated to be as high as $500 million. This includes a rental fee of up to 1000 euros per square metre, as low as 799 euros, as low as 4999 euros for tickets.
In addition, the cancellation of the MWC conference has affected exhibitors, spectators, builders, airlines, taxis, local hotel restaurants and other stakeholders.
According to the GSMA’s previous statement to the Exhibitor, due to force majeure, the GSMA will not provide refunds to the Exhibitor in accordance with Articles 21 and 10 of the Standard Terms and Conditions for Exhibitions, Advertising and Sponsorship. This is not a big loss for exhibitors.
Connectlab is one of those that has had a more severe impact for small business exhibitors. In an interview with the BBC, Connectlab executive Vittorio Di Mauro said it was a “nightmare” to cancel MWC.
For A small Connectlab, the 50,000 euros invested in MWC is a significant sum, but the money is spent without any contact with the customer. At the same time, Vittorio Di Mauro expressed its great disappointment:
Not just because of the loss of money, but also because you can’t get in touch with customers. MWC isn’t just an exhibition, it’s an opportunity for everyone in the industry to have access.
In addition, many exhibitors are expected to release new products at the MWC conference, including vivo, Realme, etc., which were originally scheduled to be announced at the MWC conference and were released online.
And for airlines, hotels, taxis and other service industries, the cancellation of the conference brought about the loss is like “the duck flying.”
Although the impact of the cancellation of a conference may not represent all conferences as a whole, under the economic globalization, there is not a single independent individual between industries, but a large ecology that interacts and connects with each other, and there is a chain reaction of “one-off and moving all”.
There is no doubt that the cancellation of the conference would bring huge economic losses, but as a community of fate in the global village, no one can stay out of the game of the virus.
It is not known when the new corona outbreak will spread, but if the meeting does not come as scheduled this year, then, after the outbreak, see you later.