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Coronavirus: PlayStation & Facebook Exit Game Developers Conference

The coronavirus has been causing mass event cancellations over the past few weeks, including Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress, and now both Sony and Facebook have pulled out of the Game Developers Conference (GDC).

It follows yesterday’s news that PlayStation would also be exiting from next week’s PAX East conference in Boston, where the company was set to hold its first ever public demo of its upcoming game The Last of Us 2.

Sony said in a statement it was cancelling its participation ‘as the situation related to the virus and global travel restrictions are changing daily,’ GamesIndustry.Biz reports.

‘We are disappointed to cancel our participation, but the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern,’ Sony’s statement continues. ‘We look forward to participating in GDC in the future.’

(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

(Photo: Christophe Gateau/dpa)

Facebook, whose Oculus Quest virtual headset is experiencing supply shortages due to the COVID-19 virus, was also set to make announcements at GDC, but instead it’s now planning to share those announcements through online videos and Q&As.

Amidst the chaos of cancellations, event organisers have been maintaining a log of updates surrounding the potentially fatal virus, stating all 10 of its China-based exhibitors have pulled out. In comparison to the total of 550 companies set to attend, this is a small set back.

GDC also shared how it would address health concerns at the event, that runs from 16 – 20 March. Among the efforts includes adding more hand sanitizer stations, increasing wipe downs of microphones and doorknobs, as well as adding disinfecting electrostatic sprayers to popular areas of the conference.

As it currently stands, over 2,126 people have died from the coronavirus and a further 75,700 people are infected globally – with the virus now spanning into 25 countries.

According to a report in Bloomberg last week, however, PlayStation 5 production is yet to be impacted by the virus.

The estimated cost to the global economy due to the coronavirus is at $1 trillion, according to an estimate from Oxford Economics.

Well-equipped Chinese medical workers check passengers’ body temperatures at the exit for prevention of the new coronavirus and pneumonia upon their arrival at Nanjing Railway Station in Nanjing City, east China’s Jiangsu Province on February 18th, 2020. (Photo by Su Yang / Costfoto/Sipa USA)

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