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Sony pulls out of PAX East in Boston, citing coronavirus concerns

The PlayStation maker presses pause on attending one of the biggest video game conventions in the US.

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PlayStation won't be at Boston's PAX East this year.

James Martin/CNET

Sony Interactive Entertainment, the video gaming giant behind the PlayStation, is canceling an upcoming appearance at PAX East due to growing worries about the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The novel coronavirus, first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December, has killed over 2,000 people and infected over 75,000

PAX East, a four-day event held in Boston, is one of the biggest gaming conventions in the US, attracting tens of thousands of fans. Sony had planned to exhibit the highly anticipated exclusive The Last of Us Part II with a hands-on demo for the first time, but on Wednesday announced its withdrawal from the event.

"We felt this was the safest option as the situation is changing daily," Sony said on its PlayStation blog. "We are disappointed to cancel our participation in this event, but the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern."  

PAX East will increase hygiene and sanitation measures in place. Kyle Marsden-Kish, event director for PAX production team ReedPOP, said in a statement that the team is "working closely with the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center and following local, state and federal public health guidelines, including those issued by the CDC" and it is "saddened that Sony will no longer have a presence at PAX East 2020."

Sony has already canceled its appearance at June's Electronic Entertainment Expo, the world's largest trade show for the video game industry. But that cancellation is unrelated to fears about the coronavirus.

Mobile World Congress, the biggest phone show in the world, which was scheduled to take place next week, was canceled after the coronavirus outbreak prompted a large number of participants to pull out or to cut back their activities.

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