If you’re one of the thousands heading to PAX East 2020 to see what PlayStation is doing, you’re going to be disappointed. Just a few moments ago, Sony updated its plans for PAX East 2020 and has announced that they are no longer attending the event due to concerns released to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
UPDATE: 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”). 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.
Naughty Dog was going to be part of the event with PlayStation, to show off The Last of Us Part II demo, they also have canceled. I know a large number of attendees, including myself, were looking forward to this. No word from PlayStation if they plan on releasing this demo online as a gesture for pulling out.
We’re so sad to have to miss PAX East! We were really looking forward to meeting you and seeing your reactions to the demo. Although we know this makes the wait until May 29 a bit harder, we appreciate your understanding. Don’t worry, we’ll have more to share closer to launch. https://t.co/tIJ0Z7Ztcs
— Naughty Dog (@Naughty_Dog) February 19, 2020
Admittedly at first, I was upset over this, as I had some plans to speak with Sony, but that’s all dashed. However, Sony PlayStation is a huge global company and they would have flown in a number of its staff to the event. An event where gamers from around the globe would be attending. So I can see the concern about attending. Though, I will say the timing is was bad and the Coronavirus has been making headlines for weeks now. Maybe they could have announced this cancelation sooner.
Though, now that PlayStation is out, not only does it leave a sizable hole for the event. They had the largest booth, next to Nintendo’s and would have been the first one you’d hit on the way down the main escalator. But it also begs to ask the question, how many other companies could also possibly pull out. If PlayStation is doing it for health concerns, I see no reason why other companies shouldn’t do the same.
Hell, I’m questioning if I want to head up to Boston, MA know. While we know the city did have one case of Coronavirus, that person was quarantined. I’m not a health official, and I’m not one to turn to for health advice. Even still, I applaud Sony for thinking about its employees, even if I think the concerns may be overblown.
Now, you have to wonder if Reedpop and Penny Arcade are entertaining the idea to postpone PAX East 2020. While there hasn’t been any mention, I can see more concerns and fears popping up before the event starts. It wouldn’t be the first event to be canceled to the Coronavirus concerns if it does. Facebook canceled its Global Market Summit, Disney closed down its Hong Kong resort, and the largest smartphone convention, Mobile World Congress was also canceled. Adding to that, the GDC announced that a number of attendees have already pulled out from the upcoming GDC 2020, due to the Coronavirus.
Due to stringent U.S. travel and safety restrictions implemented on February 2nd, 2020, all of our China-based exhibitors (around 10 out of the 550 companies hosted at GDC this year) have had to push their participation to 2021 or are sending North American personnel to staff their booth. We are looking forward to hosting them next year.
In addition, our China-based conference attendees (around 2% of the total GDC attendance) will not be attending this year, since the U.S. Government has restricted visas & travel from areas significantly impacted by COVID19. We’re hoping for a resolution of this difficult situation as soon as practical.
PAX East 2020 runs from February 27th – March 1st, 2020 and is being held in Boston, MA.