Coronavirus: Which gaming events are canceled and what’s still on?

COVID-19 coronavirus has led to the cancellation or postponement of numerous video game and esports events. Some are still going on as scheduled. Shacknews offers a growing list of what’s been canceled and what’s still on.

The world is in the midst of a pandemic, one of the biggest to plague the planet in the last century. Like every other industry, the video game world is feeling its effects. COVID-19 coronavirus has led to the closure of dozens of events, with many more potentially still to come.

With events being affected on a daily basis, Shacknews is taking some time to highlight which events have been affected. Which events have been cancelled across the gaming and esports realms? And which events are still tentatively set to go on?

(Last updated 3/12/2020)

Game Developers Conference (March 16-20)

GDC 2020

The Game Developers Conference has been postponed. It has not been officially canceled, with event organizers still hoping to salvage something in the summer.

However, while a cancellation is not yet imminent, GDC has taken steps to have scheduled talks hosted on Twitch starting on March 16, which would have been the official start of the convention. The Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Choice Awards will likewise be streamed live on Twitch, both set to air on Wednesday, March 18 at 5PM PT.

E3 2020 (June 9-11)

Rumblings started around March 10 that the continuing spread of the coronavirus would claim E3 2020, one of the biggest weeks of the year for video games. Sources started telling members of the press that the show’s cancellation was imminent. And sure enough, on the morning of March 11, the ESA officially canceled E3 2020.

Here was the statement issued:

After careful consultation with our member companies regarding the health and safety of everyone in our industry–our fans, our employees, our exhibitors and our longtime E3 partners–we have made the difficult decision to cancel E3 2020, scheduled for June 9-11 in Los Angeles.

Following increased and overwhelming concerns about the COVID-19 virus, we felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation. We are very disappointed that we are unable to hold this event for our fans and supporters. But we know it’s the right decision based on the information we have today.

Major game publishers like Nintendo and Square Enix have come out in support of the ESA’s decision and will look to line up major announcements at some other point during the year.

However, it should be noted that renegade publisher Devolver Digital, which usually hosts a pre-taped “press conference” announcing its lineup, is still going full speed ahead with its plans for a livestream.

Gamescom 2020

There has been no indication that Gamescom will be postponed or canceled at this time. Gamescom is regularly updating its social media with all indications that the August convention will go on. But with German Chancellor Angela Merkel warning that up to 70 percent of Germany could become infected, this is obviously subject to change at a moment’s notice.

We will update this space if anything changes.

PAX West 2020

PAX West

As COVID-19 cases started to escalate, PAX East continued uninterrupted. The summer months might lead to an assumption that PAX West should similarly go on without a hitch. However, Washington state has been among the hardest states hit by coronavirus. It was the site of the first U.S. case and the first U.S. death. There are currently over 370 cases, with a good number of those cases coming from Seattle.

If Washington’s situation continues to worsen, it could ultimately affect PAX West. Governor Jay Inslee has already banned gatherings of over 250 people. While that declaration is indefinite, there’s also no sign of the COVID-19 spread slowing down anytime soon.

But as of now, PAX West is on. We will offer updates as they come in.

SXSW 2020 (March 13-22)

One of the first signs that something truly serious was at hand, the annual music, gaming, and entertainment festival known as South by Southwest was officially shut down by the city of Austin, Texas. This is the first time in the event’s 34-year history that it will not be held.

Several gaming events and announcements were lined up for South by Southwest, including a special reveal related to Sonic the Hedgehog.

More personally for Shacknews, it also marked the postponement of our Shack Smash Invitational, which was set to kick off a full series of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournaments.

Stay tuned for further updates regarding the Shack Smash tournament. We’ll also have more on Smash Bros. esports as a whole in a moment.

San Diego Comic-Con (July 23-26)

There is no word from San Diego Comic-Con regarding whether it will be canceled. As of now, there are still plans to move forward.

However, sister convention Wondercon, set to take place in April in Anaheim, California, was postponed on March 12. A make-up date has not been given.

This year’s San Diego Comic-Con will be largely dependent on the coronavirus spread slowing with the summer heat. However, if cases escalate, there is a chance that the whole show could be pushed back, if not canceled outright.

Summer Games Done Quick 2020 (June 21-28)

Games Done Quick has become a biannual phenomenon with speedrunners from around the world coming together to play games for a good cause. This year’s Summer Games Done Quick is scheduled for June 21-28 in Bloomington, Minnesota. However, COVID-19 may throw a wrench into those plans.

In addition to the above tweet from March 6, the GDQ team issued the following statement on March 11:

“We are actively monitoring the situation regarding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and take the matter extremely seriously,” reads the post on the Games Done Quick home page. “Games Done Quick will continue to evaluate over the coming weeks and hold any decision until closer to the event. In the meantime, preparations for #SGDQ2020 will proceed as planned. We appreciate your patience. We’ll provide updates via Twitter and on our website if anything changes.”

As of now, SGDQ 2020 is on. That could change, so stay tuned.

The Overwatch League: Season 3

When it rains, it pours for the Overwatch League. This was supposed to be the year that Activision Blizzard hosted homestands across the globe, with regional division play officially becoming a major part of the league. That has proven disastrous since COVID-19’s initial spread across the Chinese mainland. Matches would then be canceled in Korea before everything spiraled out of control in the ensuing weeks.

The latest with the Overwatch League is that all March and April events have been canceled. Play will continue, but all live events and homestands are no longer happening.

The situation with the Overwatch League continues to develop by the day. We will keep a close eye on what happens in the weeks and months ahead.

The Call of Duty League: Season 1

Another Activision Blizzard esports endeavor, the opening season of the Call of Duty League was also heavily affected by COVID-19. League organizers did their best to carry on, even holding the anticipated LA Home Series as normal.

However, the following week was where the situation escalated beyond anybody’s control. While the league will continue play in an online-only environment, in a move similar to the one made by the Overwatch League, all live Call of Duty League events have been canceled.

League of Legends Esports (LCS, LEC, LCK, LPL)

Riot Games has done its absolute best to carry on, which has proven to be a Herculean task given the different regional branches of League of Legends esports to manage. Here’s what we know about each sector of LOL Esports so far:

  • LCS: North American League of Legends play will continue. On March 12, Riot Games announced that attendance would be limited to players and staff only.
  • LEC: European League of Legends play will continue. Like the LCS, LEC live events will also be restricted to players and staff only.
  • LCK: According to Inven Global, Korean League of Legends play has been halted indefinitely. There is no word on when this hiatus will be lifted.
  • LPL: Chinese League of Legends play was momentarily paused to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. Play resumed on March 9, with matches being held online only. Participating players were also required to complete a 14-day monitored quarantine period.

Due in large part to travel restrictions and to the LCK’s stoppage in play, the Mid-Season Invitational was pushed back to July. It will now run from Friday, July 3 through Sunday, July 19. A location has not been given.

As for Worlds 2020, that’s still tentatively set to be held in Shanghai, China, but the situation remains fluid by the day.

Rocket League Championship Series: Season 9 (April 24-26)

The Rocket League Championship Series was set to crown a champion in late April. Unfortunately, with the COVID-19 outbreak growing increasingly dangerous, Psyonix made the difficult decision to cancel the RLCS Season 9 World Championship.

“At Psyonix, we take the safety of our competitive players, fans, and personnel very seriously,” reads the Psyonix statement. “Due to worldwide health concerns surrounding the developing situation around the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we are canceling the Rocket League Season 9 World Championship live event as scheduled from April 24-26 in Dallas, Texas. We understand that this is frustrating, but health and safety will always be our top priority.”

In an effort to compensate, Psyonix has added $250,000 to each Regional Championship prize pool. Regional tournaments, as well as the end of the RLCS regular season, will be held online.

Tekken World Tour/SoulCalibur World Tour

The annual esports tour for Tekken 7 has been halted for the time being, along with the first season for the SoulCalibur World Tour. In announcing the TWT and SCWT postpostments, Bandai Namco has removed several events from each circuit’s lineup, including Final Round 2020 and NorCal Regionals. NorCal Regionals was canceled days later due to an edict from Santa Clara county.

There is no word on when or if either esports circuit will resume.

Capcom Pro Tour

Capcom Pro Tour

The Capcom Pro Tour for Street Fighter V has likewise halted its operations for the next few months due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Circuit organizers recently laid out a new schedule. Brussels Challenge, NorCal Regionals, April Annihilation, and Taipei Major were removed from the schedule, while Fighter’s Spirit in Korea and The Mixup in France were both pushed back to July.

With the recent travel ban announced by President Trump, it is unknown when or if the Capcom Pro Tour can continue anytime in the near future.

Apex Legends Global Series

This year was supposed to see Apex Legends esports take off in earnest with the start of the Apex Legends Global Series. That is now in limbo.

The first event of the Apex Legends Global Series was supposed to be Major 1 in Arlington, Texas, set to take place from March 13-15. Major 1 was postponed one week before it was scheduled to take place. A makeup date has not been announced.

Apex Legends Global Series Online Tournament #2 is scheduled to take place on March 21 and 23. It’s an online-only tournament and is currently on track to take place as scheduled.

The Dota 2 International (August 18-23)

The Dota 2 International is set to take place from August 18-23 in Stockholm, Sweden. As of now, this is still scheduled to go on.

That’s not to say that Dota 2 esports have not been affected. On March 11, ESL announced that the ESL One Dota 2 Los Angeles Major would be postponed to an unknown date. With COVID-19 continuing to spread, it’s unknown whether the Dota 2 International will ultimately be affected.

We will monitor this situation closely.

The ESL Pro League Season 11

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive esports is set to carry on. However, it’s doing so online-only. On March 11, the ESL announced that the remainder of the ESL Pro League Season 11 would be held online.

The Season 11 Finals were originally scheduled to be held in Denver, Colorado. They will now be held in a studio location in Europe without a live audience.

The ESL is currently set to carry on with ESL One Rio and ESL One Birmingham in May, but the statuses of those two tournaments and whether they’ll ultimately happen are unknown.

Smash World Tour

Grassroots organizers had hoped to make 2020 something of a coming-out party for Super Smash Bros. esports. A circuit was planned for both Ultimate and Melee called the Smash World Tour. However, the spread of COVID-19 has led to Smash World Tour events being suspended through April.

Affected events include Pound 2020 being canceled, while HFLAN in France is being postponed to a later date. It should be noted that CEO Dreamland in Orlando will continue as scheduled, though not because of any particular desire of tournament organizer Alex Jebailey. Jebailey has noted that if he cancels without the backing of the city, he’s not entitled to any compensation, essentially forcing him to move forward.

If the situation changes, we’ll be sure to offer any updates.

EVO 2020 (July 31-August 2)

With fighting game tournaments being canceled left and right and postponements coming from the Capcom Pro Tour, Tekken World Tour, SoulCalibur World Tour, and Smash World Tour, it’s reasonable to wonder whether EVO 2020 is still on the table.

As of now, there has been no official statement from any of EVO co-founders. However, Joey “MrWiz” Cuellar did issue the following on Twitter back on March 6:

EVO will play it out and see where things go, so stay tuned. We’ll update this post if anything changes.

PUBG Mobile Pro League

Tencent Games had grand plans for PUBG Mobile esports, but those look to be out the window. On March 10, the publishing giant announced that PUBG Mobile events would be online-only.

“The health and safety of our players and staff are our first priority,” reads the official statement. “Hence, we have decided to convert the PUBG MOBILE Pro League South Asia 2020 to online event due to unforeseen circumstances related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.”

The PUBG Mobile Spring Split is set to take place starting on March 13.

Are there any other major events that are being canceled or postponed. We’ll vigilantly update this post with any new events that are either canceled, postponed, or given the green light to continue. Be sure to follow Shacknews for any further coronavirus news affecting the video game world.

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can’t enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?