Sony Interactive Entertainment has announced via its PlayStation Blog website that it has decided to cancel its participation at one of the biggest US gaming conventions, PAX East 2020 in Boston, due to increasing concerns related to COVID-19 (coronavirus).

This becomes the second major gaming convention that Sony is dropping out of, having already announced that it will not be participating in this year’s Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) 2020.

“We felt this was the safest option as the situation is changing daily. We are disappointed to cancel our participation in this event, but the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern,” the company said.

Sony planned to have 25 playable PlayStation demo games on hand at the major gaming convention, including a hands-on experience with the highly anticipated The Last of Us: Part II, which would’ve been the first time the general public could test out the game prior to its official release in May.

Other notable games that were set to make an appearance at PAX East 2020 include Doom Eternal, Final Fantasy VII Remake and Marvel’s Iron Man VR.

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The current coronavirus outbreak has rapidly evolved into a world health crisis, and legitimate concerns from many of the world’s biggest tech companies have already caused several cancelled attendances at some of the sector’s major trade events, most notably leading to the complete cancellation of the Mobile World Congress.

Recently, organisers of the 2020 Game Developers Conference, set to begin next month in San Francisco, also announced that about 10 of its 550 exhibitors had been forced to cancel their attendance due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

PAX East 2020 is still scheduled to operate as normal from February 27 to March 1, although expect an increased amount of protocols to be implemented to curb concerns and issues around the coronavirus.

“PAX East will have enhanced cleaning and sanitation event-wide, but otherwise the show will go on,” said Kyle Marsden-Kish, PAX event director for ReedPOP.

“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.”

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