Update, February 20: One day after Sony's PAX East cancellation, the company's PlayStation arm has now announced plans to skip a second major gaming expo, the Game Developers Conference, by citing the impact of coronavirus on its worldwide operations. Its exit from the March expo has company: Oculus, the virtual reality arm of Facebook, will also no longer attend GDC.
GamesIndustry.biz reported the pair of cancellations on Thursday with statements from both companies. Both statements revolve around concern for the health and safety of employees worldwide, while Oculus insists it will proceed as planned by posting GDC-timed announcements online and "host[ing] GDC partner meetings remotely" in the near future.
GDC's organizers posted a statement on Thursday assuring attendees that they're moving forward with the expo as planned, based on guidance from state and city health advisers. "We believe that, based on the strict US quarantine around coronavirus and a large number of enhanced on-site measures, we are able to execute a safe and successful event for our community," the statement said.
One of the biggest names in gaming won't be at one of the biggest US gaming conventions next week, as Sony today unexpectedly pulled out of PAX East, citing coronavirus concerns.
Sony Interactive Entertainment today announced its withdrawal from the event as an update to an earlier blog post touting its planned lineup for the exhibition.
"We felt this was the safest option as the situation is changing daily," the update reads. "We are disappointed to cancel our participation in this event, but the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern."
PAX East 2020 will begin February 27—next Thursday—in Boston. Sony was planning to have 25 playable Playstation demo games on hand at PAX East, including a hands-on experience with the highly anticipated The Last of Us Part II. The PAX booth was slated to be the first time the general public could try any part of the game, which was originally slated for release this week before being bumped to May.
Kyle Marsden-Kish, PAX event director for ReedPOP, said in a statement that PAX East will have "enhanced cleaning and sanitation" event-wide, but otherwise the show will go on. "While we are saddened that Sony will no longer have a presence at PAX East 2020," he added, "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."
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