2020's Game Developers Conference would've been happening right now if it hadn't been postponed due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. It's absence is a huge blow to lots of developers, especially smaller indie teams. Today, though, Steam is launching its second-ever Game Festival, and hopefully the public availability of all these demos that would've been at GDC will give players something to do and lift the fortunes of these indies.
The Spring Edition line up for the Steam Game Festival features free demos for over 40 titles that were going to be showcased at the Indie Megabooth, The MIX (Media Indie Exchange), Double Fine and iam8bit's Day of the Devs, and Wings, a funding organization that supports games created by diverse teams. All the demos will be available until Monday, March 23 at 10 a.m. PT.
There's a wide range of genre variety in the festival's demo lineup: you can sample the winemaking simulator Hundred Days, investigate a murder as a giraffe detective in Lord Winklebottom Investigates, go for some retro beat-em-up action in Jay and Silent Bob: Mall Brawl (yup, 2020 has given us a Mallrats game), or go for some arcade gym-class sports antics in KungFu Kickball.
The Game Festival started last year as an off-shoot collaboration between Steam and The Game Awards. At the time, Game Awards creator Geoff Keighly said The Game Festival is "designed from the ground-up as an event without barriers, extending the benefits of a physical event to the global gaming community that watches The Game Awards."
Now, with E3 2020 canceled and other industry conferences and conventions either already postponed or likely to be impacted by the ongoing pandemic—in response to the E3 news, Nintendo said "large industry events may be untenable for the foreseeable future"—The Game Festival's second event may well find a larger audience than previously expected. Again, you have until Monday to play the dozens of demos on offer, so if you're not hopping on the Doom or Animal Crossing bandwagons soon, you'll have plenty to check out over the weekend.