PlayStation has been dropping out of multiple expos and conferences lately, including both GDC and PAX East, citing fears over the coronavirus that has largely affected mainland China so far. The mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh, is not happy with Sony’s decision to drop out of PAX East (which is a Boston event), and has penned a letter to Sony president Kenichiro Yoshida asking him to reconsider.
The letter, which has been reported on and excerpted from by WCVB, points out that the odds of contracting the virus in Boston are “extremely low”–there has been just one reported case of the virus in the city, and the patient is now recovering at home.
“These fears reinforce harmful stereotypes that generations of Asians have worked hard to dismantle,” Walsh wrote in his letter. “They trigger our worst impulses: to view entire groups of people with suspicion, to close ourselves off, and to miss out on the opportunities and connections our global city provides.”
“As a large, international company, you have an opportunity to set a good example…As a leader in technology, you can show that you are motivated by facts, not fear.”
To date, there have been 35 total reported cases of the coronavirus in the US. No one in the country has died from it. PAX East has promised “enhanced cleaning and sanitization” across the show floor.
The main drawcard of Sony’s appearance at PAX East was going to be the presence of a playable demo of The Last of Us Part II–the first time the game would have been playable for the public. Attendees will now likely have to wait until the game releases on May 29, 2020 to get their hands on it.
PAX East runs from February 27 through to March 1. Sony has given no indication that it will reverse its decisions to pull out of PAX East and GDC at this time.
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