Hi-Rez Studios and That Game Company have become the latest game studios to back out of PAX East 2020, which begins today.
“After some internal discussion we’ve made the call to cancel our #PAXEast activities this weekend,” Hi-Rez Community Lead Isaiah Turner tweeted last night. “So sorry to everyone that was looking forward to our meet and greets. We’ve still got lots of events planned for the rest of the year so keep an eye out!” In a follow-up, he clarified that the “[d]ecision was made as a safety precaution due to the growing concern of coronavirus.”
That Game Company made a similar statement yesterday: “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.”
CD Projekt Red and PUBG Corp have also issued statements about withdrawing from the con. As we’ve previously reported, several other major exhibitors, including Sony, Square-Enix and EA, had previously announced plans to cancel their attendance.
Thus far, there’s been only one documented case of the virus in Boston itself, and the CDC continues to say that the “potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 is high, both globally and to the United States,” but that for the “general American public” the “immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.” In spite of recent reports of the first case of suspected “community transmission” in the USA, the CDC maintains that the virus is “not currently spreading” in the country, though it says it will change its risk assessment if and when the virus causes a pandemic.
But over in San Francisco, where GDC 2020 is set to begin in just a few weeks, local authorities have declared an outright health emergency ahead of an anticipated outbreak and made plans to step up resources to fight it. GDC organizers, however, say they are “moving forward as planned.” Multiple attendees have already pulled out of GDC, including, today, Unity, Epic Games, and Microsoft.
ESL has announced that due to the expanded threat of coronavirus, the IEM Katowice esports event will be played without a live audience. tens of thousands of spectators were expected pic.twitter.com/DUIlStQ9vP
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) February 27, 2020