Photo courtesy of the Game Developers Conference
The Game Developers Conference scheduled for next month was cancelled last Friday, after a growing number of game companies announced plans to drop out, due to increasing fears over the novel coronavirus. While the event’s organizers promised ticket refunds for attendees and worked out a plan for individuals who’d booked through GDC’s hotel block to safely cancel reservations, that still left an untold number of developers with potentially massive travel expenses they might not be able to recoup.
Thankfully, people are stepping forward to try and address the financial distress.The “GDC Relief Fund” is a collaboration between several game companies and other groups, raising money for independent developers planning to attend GDC. It’s organized by the development funding company WINGS, which focuses on games by diverse studios. Raw Fury, 11 Bit Studios, and Versus Evil are some of the studios contributing to it.“The postponement of GDC at such short notice is completely unprecedented,” said WINGS co-founder Cassia Curran in a statement on the website for the fund, “and we’ve been blown away by how quickly the games industry has come together to help independent game developers suffering hardship as a result.”So far, the GDC Relief Fund has raised at least $76,500. Who receives the money will be determined “according to the estimated impact of the postponement on their organizations and the financial hardship they are experiencing.” Interested developers can apply here.The hope is the fund will grow over time. In late March, the game developer conference GameDev.World, which streams its presentations rather than organizing in a physical location, will host a weeklong fundraiser that will add money into the GDC Relief Fund.“The combination of the uncertain circumstances surrounding the virus and the high risk and cost of healthcare in the United States has caused many developers from around the world to reconsider travel” said the organizers GameDev.World in announcing the collaboration, “but many feel beholden to their itinerary whether the event happens or not due to the sizable investments they’ve made.”The GameDev.World event will take place from March 27 through April 3.The organizers of GDC have characterized last week’s decision as a postponement, rather than an outright cancellation. There are currently plans to hold a GDC-like event in the summer, though details on timing, pricing, and other information has yet to be announced.Follow Patrick on Twitter. His email is email@example.com, and available privately on Signal (224-707-1561).