CD Projekt, thatgamecompany and PUBG Corp. are the latest companies to revise their PAX East plans in light of the continuing spread of COVID19, also known as coronavirus.
Bayer allegedly stated that the decision was made because the company was “mitigating travel risks… [and] trying to keep the team healthy”, but that tweet has since been deleted (thanks, GameSpot).
Due to COVID-19 concerns, we’ve made the difficult decision to no longer attend PAX East. As a small international team, we want to put the health of our team first & take every precaution to avoid risk. Thanks for your understanding & we hope to meet everyone at later events! pic.twitter.com/XCkYnXBhaC
— thatgamecompany (@thatgamecompany) February 26, 2020
“Due to COVID-19 concerns, we’ve made the difficult decision to no longer attend PAX East,” explained thatgamecompany. “As a small international team, we want to put the health of our team first & take every precaution to avoid risk. Thanks for your understanding & we hope to meet everyone at later events!”
As for PUBG Corp? “We will be rescheduling this plan for an upcoming event, once the coronavirus is under control and travel returns to normal,” a spokesperson said.
Sony pulled out of PAX East last week, stating “the safest option” was to “cancel its participation”, adding “the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern”. Consequently, Marty Walsh, the mayor of Boston – which is the US city that hosts PAX East – sent a letter to Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida stating that the decision to pull out of the convention only served to reinforce “harmful stereotypes that generations of Asians have worked hard to dismantle”, stating it was going ahead with the show in order to “dispel these harmful and misguided fears”.
The world’s biggest mobile phone show, Mobile World Congress (MWC), was cancelled after organiser GSMA said that fears concerning the coronavirus outbreak had made it “impossible” for the event to proceed.
Even though the city of San Francisco – the city set to host the upcoming GDC conference next month – has now declared a “local health emergency” over coronavirus, at the time of writing the event, which is scheduled to run next month, is still going ahead. Organisers say “based on the strict U.S. quarantine around coronavirus and a large number of enhanced on-site measures, we are confident we can execute a safe and successful event for our community”. However, Kojima Productions, Sony, EA, and Facebook – which owns Oculus – have all pulled out of GDC.
A new statement from the organisers said: “We’ve recently learned of the additional preventative measures instituted by the City Of San Francisco around COVID19. Locally, the California Department of Public Health, the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and the San Francisco Travel Association continue to support the convening of public events, and we are moving forward as planned. More information can be found in the updated SFTA letter to GDC attendees.”