The mayor of Boston urges Sony to come to PAX East, but more publishers are dropping out

By Sam Quirke,
The mayor of Boston has penned a letter to Sony president Kenichiro Yoshida urging him to reconsider the company's decision to withdraw from the Boston-based PAX East, the game expo due to start this weekend. PAX East was supposed to feature the highly anticipated The Last of Us 2, with gameplay, as a headline attraction. Marty Walsh's efforts will be hampered by additional drop-outs from Square Enix and Capcom overnight. The companies are beating a hasty retreat amid concerns about the COVID-19 coronavirus.

PAX East

As reported by GameSpot following reports from WCVB. At the time of the report, only one Bostonian has been diagnosed with the virus, and they are recovering at home. Only 53 cases have been reported in the US, with no deaths – but it's still unclear whether borders are really able to screen and diagnose for COVID-19 comprehensively.

Perhaps this is why both Square Enix and Capcom have decided to reduce their presence at PAX East as well. Capcom has withdrawn developer attendance from the Monster Festa event for Monster Hunter, though they say the event will still go ahead without the developers' presence. Apparently, there will still be Iceborne news at the event.

Square Enix is also stepping back their presence at PAX East, reducing panel appearances and signings. The team from Japan will no longer be attending at all.

Mayor Walsh made the fairly bold claim that Sony was responsible for reinforcing "harmful stereotypes that Asians have worked hard to dismantle", rather than protecting its employees and fans from a major health concern. We've yet to see Walsh make further statements after other companies have dropped out of the event.

This comes as EA announces (via Gamespot) that they are withdrawing from the other big tech event of the coming month, GDC 2020. PlayStation already announced intentions to withdraw from GDC last week.

The US government has already warned citizens against non-essential travel to and from China, and has recently added South Korea to that list after cases skyrocketed almost overnight, according to BBC News. Northern Italy has recently seen a swathe of cases of the virus, and a hotel in Tenerife has been put on lockdown just this morning.

The coronavirus has had a significant knock-on impact on the games industry, causing shortages of the Nintendo Switch's Adventure Fit accessory, game delays and more. There has been some murmuring that the PlayStation 5 itself might be delayed out of 2020 due to assembly line disruption. We'll keep you posted on that one.
Sam Quirke
Written by Sam Quirke
Sam has been a Newshound since 2016 and is now the Editor for both TrueAchievements and TrueTrophies. He loves gaming on all devices and in all genres. He remains a stubborn Assassin's Creed and Pokémon fan.