Sony Skips Two More Games Shows Citing Coronavirus Concerns

If you’re champing at the bit for the full PlayStation 5 reveal, we’ve got two more dates for you to strike from your calendar. Sony has announced that it is withdrawing from two games industry events over the next month, due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

The two shows are PAX East, taking place in Boston, MA, from February 27 to March 1, and the Game Developers Conference (GDC) on March 16-21 in San Francisco, CA. Although Sony wasn’t necessarily expected to make any particular PS5 announcements at either, it’s nonetheless a bit of a blow.

Sony had already revealed it wasn’t attending E3 this year, for the second year running, instead preferring to focus on more fan-oriented events as it builds up to the next-generation console.

Initially identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December, the contagion — a new form of the virus that has caused SARS and MERS epidemics in the last 20 years — causes a respiratory disorder known as COVID-19. There’s been more than 75,000 cases so far, with just over 2,200 deaths attributed to the disease, almost exclusively in China and south-east Asia.

The World Health Organization classes the coronavirus outbreak as an international emergency. Although there’s no specific restrictions on travel other than to and from China, some companies are limiting travel as a precaution to prevent the spread of the disease. The outbreak has also caused the postponement of the Chinese F1 Grand Prix and Formula E Sanya ePrix.

Sony isn’t the only brand pulling out of such events. Facebook has also withdrawn its stand from GDC, while Chinese exhibitors are naturally impacted by the US travel ban. GDC has an extra cleanliness protocol in place for 2020 too.

Meanwhile gamers are still waiting to catch a first look at the next-generation PlayStation 5. Industry rumors all pointing at a February reveal are yet to come to pass, with a number of key events and dates this month passing without so much as a glimpse. Sony’s reported struggles with the console’s pricing due to component supply issues may have caused a rethink of the timeline — something that coronavirus won’t be helping.

We’ll bring you more PS5 news as soon as we get it.

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