Sony Interactive Entertainment has made the call to back out of PAX East, pulling both PlayStation’s own presence and SIE-owned studios like Naughty Dog from the show a week before the event’s start.
The news was shared in a brief update on the PlayStation blog, noting that the team feels backing out is “the safest option as the situation is changing daily.” Penny Arcade's PAX East convention is set to open its doors on February 27.
“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”),” reads that post. “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.”
The move marks the latest impact the ongoing epidemic has had on the game industry, following news that many China-based developers and companies have temporarily closed their doors to prevent infection and reports that production slows could cause delays for consoles like the Nintendo Switch.
Update: PAX East has issued a statement on Sony's decision, noting that the event will continue as planned with "enhanced cleaning and sanitization across the show" as well as particular attention to public health guidelines surrounding the coronavirus situation.
"While we are saddened that Sony will no longer have a presence at PAX East 2020, 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."
"The well-being of everyone at PAX - from our attendees and exhibitors to our staff on-site at
every show - is of the utmost importance to ReedPOP and Penny Arcade. Across the more than
50 total PAX events around the world, we have provided a positive environment for over one
million attendees to celebrate gaming. We will continue to work diligently to ensure PAX East
2020 and our other events live up to our high standards and we will proactively keep you up to
date with any further developments as we get closer to PAX East 2020."
The full statement can be found here.