Coronavirus Leads EA, CD Projekt Red, Square Enix, Capcom To Abandon GDC, PAX East

Coronavirus Leads EA, CD Projekt Red, Square Enix, Capcom To Abandon GDC, PAX East

The coronavirus hits just keep on coming. After leading to the withdrawal of Sony and Facebook from GDC, concerns over the outbreak has resulted in four more high profile withdrawals, with EA telling their staff not to attend the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco next month, and three major publishers abandoning PAX East.

News about both companies made the rounds overnight and early Wednesday morning Australian time, starting with EA. Alex Sherer, a specialist in ad product development at EA, posted last night that EA management had advised “all EA employees … not to travel to San Francisco for the conference”.

The decision was only made known to staff yesterday. In a statement to GamesIndustry, EA confirmed the emergence of new cases prompted the decision. “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.

CD Projekt Red’s call to cancel their PAX East appearance, however, will have the greatest impact. The show starts Friday Australian time in Boston, and their decision will be tough for any fans excited for fresh Cyberpunk 2077 content. It’s not just CDR though: Capcom cancelled a Monster Hunter meet and greet event during the convention, while Square Enix cancelled a Final Fantasy 14 panel, fan gathering and developer signing sessions because of COVID-19 fears.

“Taking into consideration the current situation within the region, sadly SQUARE ENIX has decided to cancel the PAX East attendance of staff who would be travelling from the Japan offices,” Square wrote. “This difficult decision was based on our desire to prevent any potential spread of the virus and to prioritise the health and safety of our team and our fans.”

With more and more publishers pulling out, it increases the likelihood that more high profile departures will follow. And it might not be the only show to suffer. The organisers from Computex, the largest tech show in Asia and one of the highest profile events for CPU, GPU and peripheral manufacturers worldwide, will make a decision in April on whether to go ahead with their annual conference. That said, the organisers are upbeat about Taiwan’s ability to contain the virus, citing the development of mobile apps to let citizens know where they can get stock of facial masks, as well as a cloud-based health initiative to connect ID cards and health insurance with customs data to identify potential future coronavirus cases.


    • Or they are people thinking about the OH & S of their employees and in the cases of events a bit further out, trying to guess whether it is financial sound to commit to something that might be questionable in a few months time.

      think of this way, employees of a place like CDPR live in work in a certain corner of the world. yes every day they will meet strangers, and travellers on their commute. But nothing at all like a petri dish of international travel, then an even larger petri dish that is an international convention. Yes the risk is virtually nothign at this stage, but so to would the people of Italy would have said a week ago.

      • Exactly this.

        They’re not teleporting to Boston.
        Many of them are going to be going through extremely busy airports either in coronavirus affected countries or used by people from those countries.

        It’s a bad idea, guys. A really bad idea.

        I swear it’s like watching someone play Plague Inc. Oooh, there’s a red airplane carrying my virus to a new country. Pop! Now it will spread through that country! Let’s mutate to be infectious without symptoms! No… that would be fucking OP.

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