What just happened? We've seen numerous tech companies pull out of major trade events and conferences over concerns related to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) outbreak, and that trend is continuing now. For better or worse, Sony has officially announced its decision to withdraw its plans to participate in this year's annual PAX East conference in Boston, citing a desire to protect the "health and safety" of its global workforce.
Though the coronavirus has spread to the US, the number of total cases in the country is still small in number (comparatively speaking). Nonetheless, Sony has decided that it's better to be safe than sorry, and it isn't hard to understand that perspective. When a virus outbreak occurs, the risk of it spreading faster likely raises when you put hundreds (if not thousands) of travelers from around the world in one location.
Of course, there could be other side benefits for Sony here. We don't doubt that the company's main focus truly is the health of its employees, but attending trade shows is not a cheap process, and skipping PAX could save some serious cash. On top of that, Sony seems to feel that it doesn't need the help of events like E3 to spread the word about its games lately (the gaming giant didn't attend E3 2019, and it won't be attending E3 2020), and that policy might extend to PAX as well.
At any rate, as gamers and enthusiasts ourselves, we're certainly disappointed by this news. We here at TechSpot were looking forward to watching and reporting on the latest announcements and reveals from Sony's PAX presence. Some prospective attendees may also find themselves feeling a bit less enthused about PAX now that they won't get the opportunity to try out games like The Last of Us Part II.
Regardless, this decision is probably for the best. The safety of PAX attendees, as well as Sony's own workers, should take precedence over hype and marketing potential. And hey, it's not as if there aren't other games to get excited about at PAX -- Baldur's Gate 3 will get its first gameplay demo during the event, and there will probably be a fair number of new reveals as well.