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Coronavirus: EA, Capcom, Square Enix Join Games Industry Event Exodus

The fallout from the coronavirus outbreak continues to affect the games industry. 

Yesterday we heard that Facebook and Sony PlayStation had pulled their participation in the annual Game Developers Conference held in San Francisco between March 16 and March 20. 

Today they are joined by publisher Electronic Arts and developer Kojima Productions, who announced their planned attendance at GDC would no longer go ahead. 

“Having closely followed the global situation with coronavirus and with the recent escalation of cases in new regions, we have decided to take additional steps to protect the wellbeing of our employees including the restriction of all non-essential travel,” EA said in a statement to GamesIndustry.biz.

“As a result we are also cancelling our official participation at GDC and limiting attendance to other events. We are continuing to monitor the situation and will adjust guidelines to our employees as we feel is appropriate.” 

In a statement on Twitter, Kojima Productions, developer of Death Stranding, which scooped dozens of Game of the Year awards in 2019, said, “Kojima Productions has made the difficult decision to cancel our participation at the 2020 Game Developers Conference due to increasing concerns related to coronavirus.” 

San Francisco mayor London Breed overnight declared a state of emergency in the city. 

At the same time, more games companies are pulling out of PAX East, the popular games culture show hosted by Penny Arcade and held in Boston from February 27 to March 1. 

Sony PlayStation had already pulled it PAX East presence, where it was scheduled to hold its first public demo of The Last of Us 2. 

Sony is now joined by Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt RED and PUBG developer PUBG Corp in pulling out of scheduled PAX East appearances, alongside Japanese publishers Capcom and Square Enix. 

North American head of communications for CD Projekt RED, Stephanie Bayer tweeted, “I just found out my team is cancelling our PAX East trip so I will NOT be at PAX East as previously planned.” 

PUBG Corp told Gamespot that it is cancelling all its PAX East and GDC plans due to the coronavirus. 

Square Enix issued a statement saying it “has decided to cancel the PAX East attendance of staff who would be travelling from the Japan offices.” While the company will still host a show floor booth for Final Fantasy XIV (presumably staffed by its US office), it has cancelled a series of events at the show involving the Japanese-based developers of the game. 

Similarly, Capcom tweeted that its developers from Japan would no longer be travelling to PAX East for an event related to Monster Hunter. 

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