Coronavirus Outbreak: Facebook cancels developer event F8, gaming conference E3; Apple's WWDC, Snapchat annual conference opt for online version

Some companies have canceled their events, others have switched to having online launches and events instead.

The rampant spread of the novel coronavirus has impacted many all around the world. The total number of confirmed cases of people who have been infected have reached over one lakh. More than 6,000 people have died due to this virus. However, the number of people who have recovered are even more.

Coronavirus is a family of viruses that can cause diseases in animals and people. In many of the other coronaviruses, they cause respiratory illnesses in people.

The World Health Organisation has termed the disease caused by this novel coronavirus as COVID-19 since it was first detected in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. SARS-CoV-2 is the name of the virus. The disease has been termed a pandemic as it has spread all over the world at a very rapid pace.

Travelers wear face masks at the West Kowloon train station in Hong Kong on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. The mysterious new pneumonia-like coronavirus has turned the Lunar New Year holiday in China - the world’s largest annual migration of people - into an epidemiologist/s nightmare. (Lam Yik Fei/The New York Times)

Travelers wear face masks at the West Kowloon train station in Hong Kong. image credit: Lam Yik Fei/The New York Times

The scare of infection has also lead to a number of tech, automotive and science-related events and conferences all over the world to be cancelled, postponed or moved to online platforms.

Here is a list of them:


F8 conference
Facebook has decided to cancel its in-person developer event F8 that was supposed to take place from 5-6 May. The company is looking at other ways to engage the community through a combination of locally hosted events, videos and live-streamed content. No dates have been announced as yet.


Due to the spread of coronavirus, Facebook has cancelled both its F8 and E3 events that were to take place on May and June respectively.

E3 conference
Facebook's gaming conference E3, that was supposed to take place on 9-11 June in Los Angeles, has also been cancelled due to the novel coronavirus. The company said that they are looking at ways to hold an online event instead of in June but there is no official confirmation on the event or the date.

Apple WWDC
Apple has cancelled its on-ground event of its Worldwide Developers' Conference and will hold an online event instead. This move was made after the spread of COVID-19. The online event will include the keynote session as well as other experiences. People will also be able to take a first look at the new software as well. The online event will take place in June like it usually does however the dates are yet to be announced.


Apple has cancelled its on-ground WWMC event. Image credit: Reuter

Match Group recently cancelled the launch of Tinder's apocalyptic-themed, in-app video series 'Swipe Night'. The company was supposed to release the first season of the show to 10 new markets across Europe and Asia. The first season of the show has already been released in the US and the second season will soon launch.

Another event to move online is Snapchat’s annual conference, for its publishers, creators, and advertising partners, Snap Partner Summit. It will take place on Thursday, 2 April on The app usually uses this conference to annouce new features that they have been working on.

Google I/O 2020, slated to be held on 12-14 May in California, has been called off due to the fear of the virus. People who purchased tickets will get their refunds by 13 March.

Microsoft’s Build developer conference is an annual developer conference, that was supposed to take place in Seattle from May 19th to May 21st. But Microsoft has decided to make it a “digital event” because of the coronavirus scare. It has also cancelled its 5 March event 'IoT in Action' conference in Melbourne.

Disney plus
Disney has cancelled its European launch for its streaming service Disney Plus in the wake of coronavirus scare. They will organise the press briefing via webcast instead. The launch was going to take place on 24 March in London to mark the streaming service's launch in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Switzerland.

Game Developers Conference
The organizer of the Game Developers Conference has postponed the global event that was to take place in California, USA. In a statement they also mentioned that they will host the GDC event later in the summer.


Motorola has re-engineered its 20005 Moto Razr and was supposed to launch in India.

The company has cancelled its on-ground event to launch its foldable smartphone Motorola Razr and shifted the launch online as a precaution against coronavirus. The Razr is a re-engineered version of the iconic Motorola Razr that launched back in 2005. The India launch comes months after the company unveiled the smartphone on the global stage last year.

Mobile World Congress
The Mobile World Congress (MWC), the annual telecoms industry gathering that was supposed to take place on 24-27 February was cancelled after a mass exodus by exhibitors. The event was called off despite assurances from local and national health officials that it would have been safe to hold it.


UN conference
The United Nations has cancelled meetings in Bonn, Germany, and elsewhere planned in the run-up to the crucial U.N. climate summit COP26 that will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, in November. No events will be held from March 6 and till the end of April.

Coronavirus conference
The Council on Foreign Relations had to cancel a roundtable called “Doing Business Under Coronavirus” that was scheduled for Friday, 13 March in New York. The council has also cancelled all other events from 11 March to 3 April around the US.


Geneva auto show
The Geneva Motor Show that was supposed to take place on 5th to 15th March has been cancelled since the Swiss government has banned large gatherings in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Several cases of the virus have been confirmed in Geneva and parts of Switzerland and is spreading in other European countries. Many car manufacturers have decided to showcase their portfolio via media platforms and online press conferences which can be live-streamed through links available on their respective websites.

The final race of the MotoGP in 2009. image credit: Wikipedia

The final race of the MotoGP in 2009. image credit: Wikipedia

2020 MotoGP
The season opener of the MotoGP in Qatar has been cancelled due to travel restrictions put into place to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. The second round of MotoGP that was to take place in Thailand has been postponed from March to October.

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