Sony Interactive Entertainment on Wednesday announced it had cancelled its participation in the popular PAX East conference to be held in Boston later this month over "increasing concerns" related to the novel coronavirus.
"We felt this was the safest option as the situation is changing daily," the company said. "We are disappointed to cancel our participation in this event, but the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern."
PAX East is slated to be held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center from Feb. 27 to March 1.
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"The fact that Sony is not going to be at the convention is a huge loss for anybody who is a hardcore gamer, because in a lot of gamers eyes, Sony is the best when it comes to quality," said gamer Marc Auguste of Malden.
Sony had planned to make a big splash, introducing new games for the public to test out, and there's always the possibility of new products being unveiled.
"I'm personally very sad about it because I was hoping they'd test the PS5," said Tom Calzini of Billerica. "I've been really looking forward to it because it's supposed to be backwards compatible with the PS4."
Organizers said the event would go on as planned.
"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 event said in a statement.
PAX East organizers said they have not heard from any other participants or panelists who will not be attending this year's conference.
The move comes amid global concern over the viral outbreak, which has infected more than 75,000 people worldwide as of Wednesday morning. China has reported over 2,000 deaths among over 74,185 cases on the mainland.
A University of Massachusetts Boston student who recently returned from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the outbreak, was diagnosed with the virus early this month — the state's only confirmed coronavirus case.
City officials in recent weeks have encouraged people to shop and dine in Chinatown, a historic neighborhood that has seen a downtick in business amid coronavirus concerns.