PlayStation Also Skipping GDC Due to Coronavirus Concerns, Facebook Too

Sony has backed out of its second industry event in as many days, again because of coronavirus concerns.

February 21, 2020

PAX East isn’t the only show PlayStation is backing out of.

Just a day after announcing it had canceled its appearance at next week’s convention due to coronavirus concerns, reported that Sony Interactive Entertainment also nixed its plans to attend this year’s Game Developers Conference later in March, once again because of the virus.

Facebook, which owns Oculus VR and has been building up its own gaming division, is also backing out of GDC.

“GDC is always a highlight of our gaming event lineup, however the health of our employees and the wider games community comes before anything else,” read the statement Facebook Gaming released Thursday. “Due to the evolving health concerns surrounding COVID-19, Facebook’s AR/VR and Gaming teams will not be attending GDC this year.”

“We’re removing our booth footprint and are advising all employees to refrain from travel during the show,” the statement continued. “We plan to host GDC partner meetings remotely in the coming weeks. We’ll also replace our in-person sessions at GDC with videos and announcements posted on the Facebook Gaming developer website.”

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Sony has been using similar thinking the past couple of days, putting its employees’ health and safety first and foremost.

“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”),” read the statement posted on the PlayStation Blog Wednesday. “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.” received a near identical statement from Sony on its decision to back out of the GDC.

The coronavirus has infected well over 75,000 people, resulting in a death toll of more than 2,100 as of Tuesday. The majority of cases are concentrated within mainland China, but the number of cases outside of the country have now surpassed 1,000.

With thousands expected to be in attendance for both events, Sony’s logic behind skipping PAX East and the GDC is completely understandable. Still, it can’t help but be disappointing.

Developer Naughty Dog’s highly-anticipated The Last Of Us Part II was set to be playable to the public for the first time at PAX East, headlining a strong lineup of games that would’ve been at PlayStation’s booth. That plan was sadly axed.

This isn’t the first time the coronavirus has affected the games industry either, having also caused problems in the production of Nintendo Switch consoles and the Switch port of The Outer Worlds, while also causing the outright cancellation of esports events.

PAX East will begin next Thursday, Feb. 27 in Boston and will continue throughout the weekend. The convention’s organizers, Penny Arcade, released a statement saying that while saddened by Sony’s decision not to attend, it will take the necessary precautions to ensure the well-being of everyone at the show.

The 2020 Game Developers Conference, meanwhile, will run from March 16-20 in San Francisco.


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