EA becomes the latest studio to back out of a con over coronavirus concerns

    
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Hooray, no shouting LFG for hours, that's enticing.

This week’s Boston-based PAX East has already felt the effects of multiple companies, from Sony to Square Enix, backing out over coronavirus fears – whether that’s fears of employees catching it, inadvertently spreading it, or just being blamed for it. Now, GDC has fallen into attendees’ sights, as EA has withdrawn from the convention.

GIbiz reports that Sony, Kojima, and Facebook had already canceled their attendance at the San Francisco event in March, making EA the latest to do so.

“Having closely followed the global situation with Coronavirus and with the recent escalation of cases in new regions, we have decided to take additional steps to protect the wellbeing of our employees including the restriction of all non-essential travel,” the company says. “As a result we are also cancelling our official participation at GDC and limiting attendance to other events. We are continuing to monitor the situation and will adjust guidelines to our employees as we feel is appropriate.”

Neither con has been canceled so far, though as we’ve previously reported, Activision-Blizzard has been proactive about canceling Overwatch League events in China. Most recently, it’s canceled its South Korean events, citing the outbreak there.

The latest stats on the coronavirus – more accurately known as COVID-19 – suggest there have been 80,000 cases globally and around 3000 deaths. There are just over 50 confirmed cases in the US.

Source: GIbiz
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Techno Wizard
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Techno Wizard

This reminds me of Corrupted Blood in WoW i.e. “Don’t go to Ironforge. It would be bad.” but with conventions.

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NeoWolf

For EA it was probably a relief…now they don’t have to address the Anthem issue again for a few more months.

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starbuck1771

Makes you want to go buy Corona beer. Makes you question who the hell names these diseases.

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Deadly Habit

Probably the same genius system as naming tropical storms/hurricanes etc.

Or like astronomy and the first person to discover and report something gets to name it, which could make for some interesting results if so… “I got the PoopypantsMcBoatface virus!”

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Bryan Correll

The two do have the same root name, Corona being Latin for Crown or Halo. The beer having a crown as its logo and the virus-type having a the appearance of a halo when viewed through an electron microscope.

We should really be referring to the currently headlining virus as COVID-19 since there are a large number of other coronaviruses including the one that causes SARS* and a few that are among the many, many different viruses that cause the ‘common cold.’

*SARS had a much higher fatality rate (almost 10%) than COVID-19 (estimated at 1% to3%), but the latter appears to be considerably more infectious (there were only about 8,000 cases of SARS before it was contained and there have been no reported cases since 2004.)

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Matt Comstock

Perhaps we should all stop going to work for fear of the coronavirus…

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Bryan Correll

There’s a big difference between just going to work and traveling a long distance to attend a convention crammed with others who have also traveled long distances from various parts of the globe. That Boston has only had one official case of COVID-19 is irrelevant when there are likely to be attendees from areas where the outbreak is more severe.

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Deadly Habit

That and pretty much every large convention has it’s own minor outbreaks with attendees.

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McGuffn

Fair weather convention crudders.

zerohunt
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zerohunt

I hope PAX East is delayed at this point. It is a pain but you can’t really expect a huge turnout with this fear lingering.

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Tuor of Gondolin

I am pretty sure that they can’t delay the event. Convention halls are usually booked many months or years in advance. Either they have it on time or it gets canceled for the year. Maybe canceling *is* the best solution this time around.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

The virus gets carried and spread between people who aren’t showing symptoms yet. It’s not a good time for conventions. I wouldn’t go to one if I won a fully paid trip to go. It simply isn’t worth it. It’s the opposite of what we should be doing.

When you think of it, it’s incredibly selfish to go and risk bringing the virus back to areas it wouldn’t otherwise be in too. If you want to put yourself at risk, that’s your own stupid doing, but when you bring the virus back to a bunch of other people and whole other area that didn’t have it yet, that’s something completely different.

I’m sure some people feel it’s their choice and freedom or whatever, but there are times where freedoms have to be restricted for the safety of others. Let people go into high-risk situations if they’re willing to be quarantined for a few weeks on the way back home.

I hope enough companies cancel where the shows have to do what they should be doing to begin with, being canceled for now. Some boneheads somewhere that think they’re earning money off them don’t want to do so of course, but they should be canceled.

Set up a virtual convention center people can visit and see the new stuff from at home. I’m sure they can still monetize it and all. There could be some really cool ways to do it virtually and still sell tickets for people to get in and get the companies to pay to take part.

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Bannex

One of the documents being emailed to physicians in my state claims this coronavirus can “live” on surfaces 10 days longer than other coronaviruses.

If this turns out to be true you all better cancel your Amazon accounts lol.

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silverlock

It’s a sad day when fear and ignorance wins out over reason.

Maybe people should follow the advice of the CDC you know the people trained to deal with this sort of thing rather then Facebook.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

You think the CDC is telling people going to conventions with many people from all over different areas gathering up together is a fine thing to do right now? Could you please give me the link to where the CDC is saying that?

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Bojan Mihaljević

Please provide link where it does state not to visit game conventions.

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Utakata

It doesn’t work that way. The onus is on the person making the claim first. And not on the person calling the claim into account.

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Amorey

This is a classic case of ” does not really affect me so I don’t care’ kind of reply. Do you really think everyone is just getting their (fake) news from Facebook ? *shrug*

I am lucky to live in the U.K. but I have family in northern Italy so I find your comment quite distasteful. They are in complete locked down, all shops , schools, universities and big gatherings are closed. The food is running out and people are literally dying , and you grumble about a gaming convention o.O

Even here in the uk people are getting worried and jittery *sigh* I am sure PAX will be back when all this is over.

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Utakata

Erring on the side of caution is not an unreasonable position though. Especially when the evidence suggests you should err on the side of caution.

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Jeremy Barnes

You do understand this is a real problem, right? Especially in Asia…right? And that these companies have staff/equipment that would come from Asia, right? Or that people from all over the world attend these cons, right?

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cursedseishi

Oh look, the person who can’t fact check the last time they posted about this isn’t fact-checking themselves again… Go figure.

The CDC have specifically stated that this virus will likely go pandemic, and that whilst the current risk for broad infection appears to be low they also warn against unnecessary travel… like, say, international or intercontinental, especially from or towards regions where cases started to increase.

But please, do go on and tell me how gathering an absolutely massive number of people across the globe in one area while a highly communicable virus is about is totally reasonable and rational. I’ll wait. I’ll even give you some advice to help since, again, this ISN’T just a US problem.

Don’t be stupid, stupid.

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Armsbend

It has a 2% mortality rate. That means if you catch it – you have a 1 in 50 chance of dying. Those are terrible odds.

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Schmidt.Capela

Actually, the 2% rate is based on just confirmed cases. Given how often COVID-19 develops into a mild disease, or even goes asymptomatic, specialists expect the real number of cases to be many times higher because a lot of infected people simply aren’t aware they got it.

This brings a piece of good news and a piece of bad news. The good news is that the mortality rate is bound to be much lower (and virtually nill for anyone 60 or below that doesn’t already have serious health issues). The bad news is that there’s likely enough infected but not diagnosed people around that containing the disease without closing most borders (and, thus, dealing a crushing blow to the world economy) is about impossible.

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Utakata

Furthermore, the 1 out 0f 50 chance is way too simplistic to look at it. Since most those who succumbed has underlying health issue to my understanding. So there seems to be a probability factor that is proportional to your health. That’s on top how the individual immune system would respond.

…personally, I don’t want to be around it, nor the people I am close to be around it (some who do have underlying health issues), to see how our immune systems reacts to it. So not getting it, would be most desirable regardless if everyone I knew could survive it in the end.

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Java Jawa

The right thing to do would probably be cancel the evens and work with folks to get refunds , including any travel expenses.

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Danny Smith

Modern sketchy ass Penny Arcade isn’t going to miss out on that sweet currency. Waiting till people ask and hoping enough don’t is still money to try and cover the losses.

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Danny Smith

At this point i’m expecting EVO to announce they are not hosting Smash unless its contained in a hot lab just to be safe.

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Jack Pipsam

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