Facebook Cancels F8 Developer Conference Over Coronavirus Concerns – Road to VR

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Facebook today announced that its annual F8 developer conference isn’t happening this year due to concerns over the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Facebook’s Konstantinos Papamiltiadis released word today via a Facebook blog post, stating that the company has cancelled the “in-person component of F8 2020.” Facebook will be fracturing the typical gathering into locally hosted events, videos and live streamed content.

F8 2020 was set take place from May 5th – 6th in San Jose, California.

Facebook notably pulled out of Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) before it was officially cancelled earlier this month, and also pulled out of the Game Developer Conference (GDC) along with Epic Games, Unity, EA, Sony/PlayStation, Microsoft, and Kojima Productions. At the time of this writing GDC is still slated to take place in San Francisco in mid-March despite the city’s declaration of a state of emergency.

“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,” Papamiltiadis says. “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.”

“We remain committed to the city of San Jose, where we’ve hosted F8, and its community,” Papamiltiadis continues. “Every year, we donate a portion of F8 ticket sales to an organization working to diversify the tech industry. This year, we’re doubling that donation amount to $500,000 and will prioritize organizations serving local San Jose residents. We also typically host local students onsite at F8. Working with the next generation of developers is one of the highlights of what we do — and this year, we will still provide an F8-inspired experience for those students in lieu of hosting them at the event itself.”

Last year’s F8 saw the release of pre-orders for both the standalone headset Oculus Quest and Rift S. Like last year, this year’s F8—or rather the smaller events to take its place—will likely see information related to developments at Oculus and possibly also news surrounding the company’s recent VR studio acquisitions.

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