The first public hands-on demo of The Last of Us Part II has now been canned, along with Sony’s entire presence at PAX East.
In a surprising turn of events, Sony today informed fans that it won’t be attending PAX East in Boston, MA, later this month acknowledging that the ongoing coronavirus sickness is the reason for this move.
Here’s the statement from Sony on the PlayStation Blog talking about this decision:
Today, Sony Interactive Entertainment made the decision to cancel its participation at PAX East in Boston this year due to increasing concerns related to COVID-19 (also known as “novel coronavirus”). We felt this was the safest option as the situation is changing daily. We are disappointed to cancel our participation in this event, but the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern.
It was only last week that Sony and Naughty Dog announced that PAX East would be the location in which the upcoming release of The Last of Us Part II would finally be playable to the public. Other titles such as Nioh 2, DOOM Eternal, and Final Fantasy VII Remake were among the litany of games that were also going to be playable at the PlayStation booth at the convention.
Naughty Dog itself also took to Twitter to apologize to fans for this revelation:
We’re so sad to have to miss PAX East! We were really looking forward to meeting you and seeing your reactions to the demo. Although we know this makes the wait until May 29 a bit harder, we appreciate your understanding. Don’t worry, we’ll have more to share closer to launch. https://t.co/tIJ0Z7Ztcs
— Naughty Dog (@Naughty_Dog) February 19, 2020
This news is obviously very disappointing for those who are planning to attend PAX East next week, but this is also a decision that you really can’t fault Sony for. Conventions are notoriously hotbeds for illnesses, with the “PAX flu” jokingly being something that seems to be mentioned every year. While the coronavirus itself hasn’t taken hold in the United States to a major degree just yet, there are documented cases in multiple states across the country.
Once again, the coronavirus has continued to have larger effects on the video game industry than you initially would realize. Not only have games like The Outer Worlds for Switch been outright delayed as a result of the virus, but Nintendo is also said to soon be experiencing Switch shortages around the globe due to manufacturing struggles. We’ll have to continue to see if the coronavirus continues to have even larger ramifications on the games industry, or the United States as a whole, moving forward.
PAX East is set to take place next week beginning on Thursday, February 27, and will last until Sunday, March 1.