Game publishers are withdrawing from GDC 2020 and PAX East due to the coronavirus

By Sam Quirke,
EA is the latest games publisher to pull out of the Game Developer Conference 2020, due to start on March 16th, amid increasing concern about the COVID-19 coronavirus. The spreading deadly virus has claimed over 2,500 lives, primarily at the purported patient-zero location of Wuhan in China. China has reported more than 77,000 cases in total. In comparison, the US has identified 53 cases and zero deaths.


Image credit: GDC

EA joins Kojima Productions and PlayStation in withdrawing from the event, as well as Facebook. PlayStation has also opted to withdraw from PAX East, due to start at the end of the week on the 27th. Capcom was planning to send Monster Hunter developers to a special event at PAX East, but have had to withdraw. The Monster Festa is still going ahead without the developers' presence and they're still promising Iceborne related news for the weekend.

Square Enix is also withdrawing from PAX East, scaling back its panel appearances and signings. The team from the Japan office will not be attending at all.

In a statement obtained by Gamespot, EA said that they are taking "additional steps to protect our employees including the restriction of all non-essential travel". EA will be "limiting attendance to other events", though did not give solid answers as to which events might be impacted.

The US government recently warned its citizens against travelling to South Korea as well as China and is reportedly enforcing stricter checks at international borders. It's therefore unsurprising that companies with a large international presence are opting to dip out of such a mass gathering.

Coronavirus continues to cause widespread alarm, with the latest lock-down occurring in a hotel in Tenerife, while infections continue to climb in South Korea – according to BBC News. In the gaming world, everything is being affected; from game delays to Nintendo Switch and Adventure Fit ring shortages. There is even speculation that the disruption to assembly might delay next-gen consoles out of 2020 altogether.
Sam Quirke
Written by Sam Quirke
Sam has been a Newshound since 2016 and is now the Editor for both TrueAchievements and TrueTrophies. He loves gaming on all devices and in all genres. He remains a stubborn Assassin's Creed and Pokémon fan.