As you can imagine, there is a lot of uncertainty in the GDevCon team right now about how we handle GDevCon and COVID-19. We have been trying to figure out the right path to take with GDevCon. One of the things I think that we could have done more is communicate the options and the approach we’re taking to you all, so you can plan and try and understand what the future holds.
So this post is an attempt just to reset that a little bit, help you understand where we’re coming from, and also solicit any feedback, because we’re making assumptions about what is most useful to you as well.
A couple of caveats upfront:
- This post is my interpretation of the discussions in the GDevCon team (with their blessing). Conjecture may not be the same as everyone on the team.
- No-one has a crystal ball so please don’t make hard plans based on this post!
So the first thing to say is we didn’t want to rush any decision. Obviously in March the severity of the situation became very obvious. With the event in September, six months later, we didn’t want to try and predict the future. We want GDevCon to go ahead if it can. We think it’s a very valuable event and quite frankly if it is able to go ahead, it’ll be a nice relief after these lockdown times.
So we made a decision early on to hold off a final decision until June. I don’t think that people are making many travel plans anyway so I expect this delay will have a minimal impact on attendees but is a big benefit to us to see what is happening in the world.
So what are we considering as the options to decide between:
- GDevCon #3 going ahead.
- Postponement (probably to early 2021)
- Online Event
To go ahead though I think we will need to be confident that three conditions are in place by September:
- International travel needs to be easy. GDevCon is a global event with attendees, sponsors and speakers coming from all over the globe.
- CERN needs to be happy that they can host us in a way that everyone is safe.
- Companies need to be happy to send their staff in the confidence that everybody will be as safe as possible. There may be a situation where travel is possible but companies are still not allowing it. This is a harder one to define but worth discussing.
As I write these down, to be perfectly honest, I find it hard to see that we will hit one of these points, let alone all three. As countries begin to ease restrictions over the next month though this will probably become clearer.
Postponement is probably the most likely option. We would look to postpone the event, perhaps to early 2021.
We have had a great response from sponsors for GDevCon #3, and the presentations submissions have been fantastic. This takes effort from us and from presenters and sponsors so we would like to avoid throwing that effort away and take the same speakers, sponsors and attendees with us to a later date.
No-one would be obliged though, and full refunds would be available in this case.
The hard part of this decision is when will it be safe?
We have had some basic discussions about an online event but are in broad agreement.
To be perfectly honest we’re not keen. Since we started GDevCon we saw the kind of team building and community building aspects to be as important as the content. So that’s why it was a two day event from the start, we wanted that evening event for people to mix and talk and continue conversations. And so we feel that we would prefer to avoid an online event, and focus on getting an in person event going.
The good news is we have been very aware of risk through this whole process and GDevCon 2020 is no exception. We are in a position where we can cancel the event, refund everyone and we will still be around and as strong for 2021.
I hope this helps explain where we are and the options we are considering.
This event is about you though so tell us what you think. Does making a decision earlier help you significantly? Has your company/spouse already ruled out travel in September anyway?
Understanding your position will help us to understand the options in front of us. So either comment below or get in touch with the team via email or social media.