Despite previously laying out attendance plans, PlayStation will no longer have a presence at PAX East. Sony explained its reasoning in an update to its PAX PlayStation.Blog post:
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”). 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 original post, which was published Feb. 13, stated that The Last of Us Part II, Dreams, Marvel’s Iron Man VR, Nioh 2, Doom Eternal, Spelunky 2, and more would all be featured at PAX East. The games on this list were sure to draw crowds, but the most disappointing news for most fans is likely that they’ll have to wait even longer to get their hands on The Last of Us Part II, which has only had press demos up to this point. Naughty Dog tweeted out a comment regarding the decision to skip out on PAX East.
We’re so sad to have to miss PAX East! We were really looking forward to meeting you and seeing your reactions to the demo. Although we know this makes the wait until May 29 a bit harder, we appreciate your understanding. Don’t worry, we’ll have more to share closer to launch. https://t.co/tIJ0Z7Ztcs
— Naughty Dog (@Naughty_Dog) February 19, 2020
PAX has also issued a statement since the announcement:
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.
Despite the fact that the PlayStation 5’s launch is growing closer every day, this now marks the second major event Sony is skipping out on this year, though not many should argue against this decision considering how the coronavirus has affected the industry and the world. For example, the coronavirus seems to be impacting Nintendo Switch production, and the Switch version of The Outer Worlds has already been delayed because of the virus’s effect on the port’s studio, Virtuos. With the death toll reaching over 2,000 victims worldwide, Sony is choosing to value its workers more than stage presence.