Sony have announced that they will not be attended PAX East gaming expo next week, citing continued concerns over Covid-19, also commonly known as the “novel coronavirus”.
The news comes just a week after Sony revealed what they would be bringing to the show, and comes as a small update to that announcement post:
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.
It’s particularly disappointing for attendees, with The Last of Us Part II set to be publicly playable for the first time alongside a broad slate of current and upcoming games. Then again, it’s fairly apt considering the theme of that game.
While disappointing, it comes in the wake of similar decisions affecting other trade shows. Mobile World Conference in Barcelona was cancelled when a string of hardware manufacturers, Sony included, backed out. Meanwhile, the organisers of the 2020 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco have announced that 10 of its 550 exhibitors have had to cancel their attendance due to the travel restrictions in place throughout and from China.
It’s a prudent decision, but could also be seen as an overreaction from Sony. While there have been over 75,000 confirmed cases and over 2,000 lives have been lost, the vast majority of these have been in China, with travel restrictions and the diligent actions of healthcare services (and patients) around the world helping to minimise the spread in other countries. There have been just 15 known cases in the US and 8 in neighbouring Canada, and with these strict travel bans and people taking sensible precautions, there shouldn’t be much risk.
PAX event director Kyle Marsden-Kish said in a statement that there will be “enhanced cleaning and sanitation” event-wide. “While we are saddened that Sony will no longer have a presence at PAX East 2020, we look forward to welcoming our friends at Sony to future PAX events and are focused on making PAX East 2020 a successful and enjoyable event for all attendees and exhibitors.”