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Sony cancels its appearance at PAX East over coronavirus fears

Sony won’t be attending the upcoming PAX East event in Boston amid fears of the coronavirus, now officially called COVID-19.

The company announced its decision to skip the annual three-day gaming festival in an update to a blog post published last week. 

“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’),” the update reads. “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.” 

Sony, which owns PlayStation, had planned on debuting a demo for the game The Last of Us Part II, as well as other interactive booths featuring game demos like Marvel’s Iron Man VR, Nioh 2, Doom Eternal, Spelunky 2, and more. 

Sony is headquartered in Tokyo, where there have been 74 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, including one death. 

Reed Exhibitions, which runs the PAX events, has an entire page on its website dedicated to coronavirus questions and concerns. The policy strongly urges exhibitors and visitors alike to follow the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidelines and protocols, including reconsidering attending the event. 

The news comes a week after Mobile World Congress — the world’s biggest cell phone show in Barcelona — was canceled as a result of coronavirus fears. Companies like LG, Samsung, and Huawei were expected to show off their latest devices and innovative software at the event. 

The tech and gaming industry has been especially affected by the coronavirus due to its reliance on China for production and materials. Nintendo announced that its production of the Nintendo Switch would be delayed for the Japanese market, and the popular Oculus Quest VR headset is currently on back-order.

In total, there have been more than 75,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide, and 2,014 confirmed deaths. The virus is believed to have originated in Wuhan, China, but there have been confirmed cases in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, and more countries around the globe. It has caused massive travel discrepancies, company closures, event cancellations, and more.

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