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Sony announced today that it will no longer be attending the PAX East fan convention due to safety concerns related to the coronavirus outbreak.

PAX East will take place in Boston from February 27 to March 1. The annual show attracts gamers from all over the world. PAX East 2018 had over 80,000 attendees. Despite these recent events impacting this year’s show, badges bought for PAX East remain nonrefundable.

Sony was planning to show off some of its biggest exclusives for 2020 at the show, including Final Fantasy VII Remake and The Last of Us Part II (a game that, coincidentally, is about a world ravaged by a deadly disease).

The coronavirus is a contagious illness, and this recent outbreak has killed over 2,000 people. Most cases have happened in China. There has also been a confirmed case in Boston. Big shows like PAX East that attract large crowds from across the world can be a dangerous place when outbreaks like this are happening.

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Sony is also skipping E3 this year for the second time in the row. That decision has nothing to do with the coronavirus, as Sony has just lost interest in taking part in the crowded June show. Still, Sony is going to have to find a way to build up hype for its products this year, which includes the fall release of PlayStation 5.

The show goes on

In response, PAX event director noted in a statement sent to GamesBeat that PAX East will still happen, with “enhanced cleaning and sanitization across the show.”

“While we are saddened that Sony will no longer have a presence at PAX East 2020, we look forward to welcoming our friends at Sony to future PAX events and are focused on making PAX East 2020 a successful and enjoyable event for all attendees and exhibitors.”

This is the full statement from Kyle Marsden-Kish, the PAX event director for ReedPOP:

The entire PAX community wants to express our concern for everyone impacted by the COVID-19 virus. The gaming community is a global one and our hearts go out to every person and family affected.

PAX East 2020 will take place as scheduled with enhanced cleaning and sanitization across the show, including adhering to the recommendations set forth in the U.S. EPA’s Emerging Pathogen Policy regarding cleaning disinfectants effective against the COVID-19 virus. We are working closely with the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center and following local, state and federal public health guidelines, including those issued by the CDC. For more information on those measures and the virus, please visit the PAX East travel page and the MCCA website.

While we are saddened that Sony will no longer have a presence at PAX East 2020, we look forward to welcoming our friends at Sony to future PAX events and are focused on making PAX East 2020 a successful and enjoyable event for all attendees and exhibitors.

The well-being of everyone at PAX — from our attendees and exhibitors to our staff on-site at every show – is of the utmost importance to ReedPOP and Penny Arcade. Across the more than 50 total PAX events around the world, we have provided a positive environment for over one million attendees to celebrate gaming. We will continue to work diligently to ensure PAX East 2020 and our other events live up to our high standards and we will proactively keep you up to date with any further developments as we get closer to PAX East 2020.

Our badge refund policy remains the same. Badges for PAX East 2020 are non-refundable and cannot be reproduced, resold or upgraded.

Update, 10:38 a.m. with full statement.

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