Square Enix has canceled most of its Final Fantasy XIV and FFXI PAX East festivities over the coronavirus

    
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All I remember is that he was African-American.

Whether or not you think the Coronavirus scare is overblown, it’s been impacting launches, ports, and conventions for the last month. The latest such impact hits MMORPG players specifically, as Square Enix has now announced it is canceling a big chunk of its attendance at the event, meaning significantly reduced Final Fantasy XIV at the show.

“As the community may be aware, COVID-19 (also known as novel coronavirus) is spreading within the East Asia region,” the company writes. “Taking into consideration the current situation within the region, sadly SQUARE ENIX has decided to cancel the PAX East attendance of staff who would be travelling from the Japan offices. This difficult decision was based on our desire to prevent any potential spread of the virus and to prioritize the health and safety of our team and our fans.”

That means no panel, no press interviews (we assume the one we’d arranged is toast too), no dev signing session, no photo ops with the team, and no fan gathering. The booth will still be up, however, with the “the Ruby Weapon battle challenge, the New Player Experience, and photo opportunities,” and the studio will run a bilingual livestream on Saturday from Japan instead.

Update
Unfortunately, the FFXI fan event has also been canceled. “We had originally planned to have Producer Akihiko Matsui and Director Yoji Fujito host a presentation at the event,” the studio wrote on the FFXI website. “However, we will be adjusting our plan to deliver this information in a different form. We will follow up with more details in the future.”

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Harlow Games

I understand the broad economic opportunities presented by cons, but I wonder now, in this circumstance, why they wouldn’t consider a live streaming event? PAX Live, with each of the original studios given their slated time, someone on-site to facilitate, and giving the same presentation just in a setting of their choosing instead of a convention stage.

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Louie

I really think we were in for a big announcement at this event for XI. Hoping we get to hear about it sooner rather than later.

Eliot Lefebvre
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Eliot Lefebvre

I share this particular sentiment, but I have no doubt it’ll still be revealed, just in a different format. This seems to have been a late-stage change in plans.

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kalech

Don’t blame ’em. Cons are a breeding ground for disease at the best of times, and no matter if the corona virus is dangerous or not, prioritizing the health of your employees and fans is the proper thing to do.

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zoward

This. The PAX cons in particular is notorious for spreading flu and rotavirus.

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Eamil

Absolutely. I still remember the year PAX became a major swine flu vector, and Japan is seeing enough confirmed cases for this to be a very real concern.

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vgees

I must say that the Coronavirus situation has me revisiting my convention plans this year. So far at least, as the 2020 convention season gets started, there haven’t been any reports of Covid-19 cases coming out of them. Hopefully it will remain that way!

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cursedseishi

The biggest issue with the Coronavirus is it has a decently long hibernation period where it is also still contagious. It takes about 14 days for symptoms to actually appear, but even before the symptoms show up you are still contagious and can spread it around.

That’s why people have been pulling out from conventions–especially if there is necessary travel involved to any major degree. And especially if its crossing through Asia.

That’s why team appearances and the like are out, but booth events are still a go. The stuff still being run is from the groups based there, and is mostly… marketing and the like.

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Utakata

:(

zerohunt
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zerohunt

I don’t blame them at all. Flying internationlly is a real risk and then getting into an enclosed area filled to the brim with people makes that risk worst.

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Greaterdivinity

Man, this shit is kinda wild.

Sony pulled out of GDC and PAX East entirely. Facebook pulled out of GDC entirely. Capcom is pulling devs from PAX East but I guess will still have a booth like Squeenix.

Some of these companies, at least the ones that can afford to “waste” the tens of thousands on a booth and buildouts, aren’t joking around. I really hope that everything goes well at both shows and there aren’t any cases of the virus appearing, much less spreading.

But having been to more than a few and knowing that many guess have…let’s just say “less than ideal” hygiene habits…I wouldn’t want to be going right now >.>

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Sorenthaz

And it’s really a better safe than sorry thing since this virus is still nebulous as far as information about it goes.