Square Enix is the latest publisher to scale back their involvement in PAX East due to fears over the spread of the coronavirus, which is also known as COVID-19. They will still attend and be present on the show floor but have cancelled their other events.
Here is the statement from the publisher.
As the community may be aware, COVID-19 (also known as “novel coronavirus”) is spreading within the East Asia region. Taking into consideration the current situation within the region, sadly SQUARE ENIX has decided to cancel the PAX East attendance of staff who would be travelling from the Japan offices. This difficult decision was based on our desire to prevent any potential spread of the virus and to prioritize the health and safety of our team and our fans.
Since our team will not be in attendance, we are planning to scale down on our planned activities for FINAL FANTASY XIV:
- Panel Session: The Artwork of FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Look Behind the Screen
We will be cancelling the on-stage panel session due to the absence of the staff members who were scheduled to attend. However, we will be hosting a livestream live from Japan (in English & Japanese) that our fans can view on Saturday, February 29 at 8:00 PM ET on the FINAL FANTASY XIV Twitch channel.
- Developer Signing Sessions & Photo Opp
We will be cancelling the signing sessions and photo opportunities, scheduled to take place on Saturday, February 29 and Sunday, March 1.
- Fan Gathering
We have also cancelled our planned PAX East fan gathering event, slated for Friday, February 28. We are looking forward to hosting future fan gatherings in North America and we’ll share more details on dates and locations in the future.
Square Enix will still host the FINAL FANTASY XIV booth on the show floor (#15010), and we hope you’ll take part and enjoy the Ruby Weapon battle challenge, the New Player Experience, and photo opportunities.
The news comes just a few days after Sony announced that they would be pulling out of the show completely.
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.
Source: Square Enix