With ongoing concerns about the spread of COVID-19 (a.k.a. Coronavirus), games companies are increasingly pulling out of major events for the protection of their employees and the public.
Below is a list of dropouts, changes and cancellations at game shows across the world, forced by the current health crisis. We’ll update this story as and when more news emerges.
Taipei Game Show (February 6-9)
January 31: The organisers of Taipei Game Show – who had previously announced temperature checks and mandatory masks for attendees – announce that the show has been postponed to an unspecified date later this year. “We are deeply sorry to announce the difference decision from our committee,” said the organizers in a statement. “However, due to the serious outbreak of Wuhan coronavirus, we have decided to postpone the event to this summer.”
PAX East (February 27-March 1)
February 20: Capcom cancels any developer involvement in the Monster Hunter Festa event, due to take place during PAX East. The event itself will still take place.
February 21: Square Enix scales back its PAX East showing, with no Japanese staff to attend the show. Final Fantasy developer and fan sessions are canceled, but other Square events at the show will continue as planned.
February 23: The mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh, sends an open letter to Sony, urging the company to reconsider its decision to skip PAX East. “These fears reinforce harmful stereotypes that generations of Asians have worked hard to dismantle,” reads Walsh’s letter.
Game Developers Conference (March 16-20)
February 20: Both PlayStation and Facebook Oculus announce that they will not attend GDC, cancelling all scheduled participaton in the show. “[We are] emoving our booth footprint and are advising all employees to refrain from travel during the show”, said an Oculus spokesperson.
February 20: GDC organisers say they “are confident that the Game Developers Conference will follow in the footsteps of other large and successful international events taking place at the Moscone Center.” However, they will enact “enhanced on-site measures” at the show, per CDC and WHO guidance.
February 24: Kojima Productions pulls out of GDC, cancelling two sessions at the show, including Hideo Kojima’s talk on the design philosophy of Death Stranding.
February 25: EA says it is also cancelling its participation with GDC, as well as “limiting attendance” to other unspecified events. The company will also restrict all non-essential travel for employees.
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Coronavirus has seen other game-related setbacks, including a delay to The Outer Worlds on Switch, and Animal Crossing special edition console production being affected.
Joe Skrebels is IGN’s Executive Editor of News. Follow him on Twitter.
Source: IGN.com Every Game Event Affected by Coronavirus So Far