- Sony’s PlayStation group cancelled its plans to attend the first major video-game convention of the year, PAX East, because of “increasing concerns” over the coronavirus outbreak.
- The annual event draws tens of thousands of paid attendees to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Centre, where game developers large and small show off their upcoming games. Sony previously announced plans to show 25 games at PAX East.
- On Wednesday afternoon, the Japanese consumer-electronics giant announced that it’s pulling those plans. “We are disappointed to cancel our participation in this event, but the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern,” the announcement said.
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At the first major video-game convention of 2020, the company that makes the world’s most popular video-game console – the PlayStation 4 – won’t be in attendance.
Sony announced on Wednesday afternoon that its PlayStation group is scrapping plans to attend PAX East in Boston due to “increasing concerns” over the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
The virus, which has killed over 2,000 people and infected over 75,000, originated in Wuhan, China, and has since spread to dozens of other countries. At least one case of infection has been reported in Boston, where PAX East is being held from February 27 to March 1.
“Today, Sony Interactive Entertainment made the decision to cancel its participation at PAX East in Boston this year due to increasing concerns related to COVID-19 (also known as ‘novel coronavirus’),” the statement, published in an update on a prior blog post, said. “We felt this was the safest option as the situation is changing daily. We are disappointed to cancel our participation in this event, but the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern.”
Among the 25 games PlayStation planned to showcase at PAX East were highly anticipated PlayStation 4 exclusives like “Final Fantasy VII Remake” and “The Last of Us: Part 2.”
Alongside the news of PlayStation pulling out of the show,an official statement from PAX East’s organisers Penny Arcade and Reedpop reaffirms that the show will still go on as planned.
“PAX East 2020 will take place as scheduled,” the statement says, “with enhanced cleaning and sanitization across the show, including adhering to the recommendations set forth in the US EPA’s Emerging Pathogen Policy regarding cleaning disinfectants effective against the COVID-19 virus.”
It’s unclear if any other exhibitors are pulling out of the show over similar concerns. Representatives for Nintendo and Square Enix, two of the largest exhibitors other than PlayStation, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.