As the coronavirus (COVID-19) shows little signs of abating in multiple countries around the world, social isolation measures are still the best form of reducing the spread. So another day and another event has decided to cancel its in-person get-together, this time it’s the turn of Oculus Connect 7 (OC7).
Oculus made the announcement via its blog, saying: “This was a tough decision to make, but we need to prioritize the health and safety of our developer partners, employees, and everyone involved in OC7. Oculus Connect gives us an unprecedented opportunity to connect with our global developer community. OC7 will be no exception, and we look forward to sharing more details about the digital event in the coming months.”
The turn towards a digital format continues a growing trend by events organisers to still keep things going in some capacity, either through news announcements and updates or videos of the planned session talks. Facebook has already done this because of the Game Developers Conference (GDC) cancellation in March. This saw the company hold its own online Game Developers Showcase, seeing the likes of Phantom: Covert Ops, B-Team and Oculus Quest updates being revealed. OC7 will likely take a similar format.
Events like OC7 aren’t just a loss for the industry but also the local community, relying upon them to provide revenue for hotels, restaurants and shops. Hence why Facebook will be doing the same as it did for the cancellation of F8, donating $500,000 USD to organizations serving local San Jose residents.
Oculus Connect is usually held around the end of September so Facebook is taking precautionary measures for the longterm. GDC, on the other hand, closed its normal March event before going onto announce a summer one for the start of August. This is starting to look somewhat hasty and it may also have to shutter the way things are going.
There are plenty embracing the digital realm with the Games for Change festival, VR Awards and the Tribeca Film Festival all following suit. The latter will be releasing its Cinema360 content via Oculus TV, Oculus Go and Oculus Quest later today. For further updates on the latest immersive events, keep reading VRFocus.