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Game Developers Conference Event Postponed Until This Summer

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
Also: Gundam Hathaway event cancelled, h.NAOTO designer cancels appearance at Sakura-Con, Mugiwara Store in Nagasaki cancelled

The organizers of the Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2020 event announced on Friday that they will delay the planned event until this summer. The event was set to take place in San Francisco from March 16 to 20.

Last week, Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) and Facebook Gaming both announced they were pulling out of the event due to concerns about the COVID-19 coronavirus situation. Other companies such a Kojima Productions and Microsoft also later announced they would not attend the event.

Relatedly, the Sakura-Con convention in Seattle announced on Friday that fashion designer Naoto Hirooka of h.NAOTO will no longer be attending the event due to concerns about the coronavirus. Other Japanese guests still currently scheduled to attend the event include rock band Blue Encount, character designer Hisashi Kagawa, voice actress Sayaka Senbongi, director Shinichi Matsumi, and producer Yoshihiro Watanabe. The event will be held at the Washington State Convention Center from April 10-12.

In Japan, the Gundam.info portal site announced on Friday that the planned "Gundam Fan Gathering: Hathaway Heirs to Gundam" fan event on March 24 for the Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway's Flash anime film has been cancelled. The event was set to be held at Zepp Diver City in Tokyo and feature Amuro Ray voice actor Tōru Furuya. The event would have revealed the cast and theme song artist for the film.

Also in Japan, the official website for the One Piece franchise announced on Friday that the planned One Piece Mugiwara Store pop-up store in Nagasaki will no longer be held. The store was planned to be open in Amu Plaza Nagasaki from March 11-18.

Additionally, the governor of the prefecture of Hokkaido declared a state of emergency on Friday and asked residents to stay indoors over the weekend. Hokkaido has 66 confirmed cases of the virus and two deaths. As a result of the state of emergency declaration, the official Twitter account for the Shirobako anime film announced that the United Cinemas Sapporo and Dinos Cinemas Asahikawa theaters are temporarily closing, and so they are not screening the film as previously planned. The film opened in Japan on Saturday.

NHK and The Japan Times reported on Thursday that the number of cases of the new coronavirus in Japan now exceeds 200. The news outlets reported that the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship docked in Yokohama, additionally has more than 700 infected passengers. NHK reported that 10 people in Japan have died from COVID-19 as of Friday evening.

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe announced on Thursday that the government will ask all elementary, junior high, and high schools in Japan close from March 2 until the end of students' regular spring break, which is typically early April.

The first reported cases of the COVID-19 disease occurred in Wuhan, China in December, and then began to spread in varying rates and intensities across many parts of the globe through incubation in human hosts. The WHO declared a world health emergency on January 30. As of Friday, the WHO reported that there are 83,652 infected individuals worldwide, with 78,961 of them in China and 210 official cases in Japan proper. 2,791 individuals have died from the disease in China. The WHO raised its global risk assessment over the virus from "high" to "very high" on Friday.

Sources: GDC, Sakura-Con's Twitter account, One Piece franchise's website

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