Sony might not be showing up at E3 this year in a formal capacity, but they were supposed to have a booth at PAX East next week, including a chance to finally play the delayed The Last of Us: Part II. However, Sony announced today it’s decided to pull out of PAX East “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,” said the company in a statement on their official blog. “We are disappointed to cancel our participation in this event, but the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern.”
More than 73,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported so far alongside 1,873 deaths, according to the most recent World Health Organization data reported by CNN.
This is not the first gaming event to be impacted by the ongoing spread of coronavirus—a series of esports events overseas have been cancelled or forced to move locations—but it’s certainly one of the most high-profile consequences. It’s far too late for PAX to find another person to fill Sony’s space, and Sony themselves are one of the show’s biggest attractions.
In response to Sony’s decision, the organizers behind PAX East announced the event “will take place as scheduled with enhanced cleaning and sanitation across the show” and said it would be working with the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center and “following local, state, and federal public health guidelines, including those issued by the CDC.”
“While we are saddened that Sony will no longer have a presence at PAX East 2020,” said the organizers in a statement, “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.”
So far, there are no indication other companies intend to cancel their appearance. When asked, PAX pointed VICE Games to the same statement released on the event’s website.