Sony is skipping PAX East this year due to concerns over novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). While that news alone is shocking and disappointing enough, Square Enix has now decided to follow suit and cancel several of their events to mitigate the risk of Coronavirus.
Square Enix joins Sony in PAX East Coronavirus concerns
Square Enix is cancelling most of their events at PAX East this year due to tensions over novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) as reported by websites like Prima. The booth for Final Fantasy 7 Remake will reportedly remain intact on the show floor, but all other Square Enix events and activities are being cut.
The events being cancelled include a panel on the art of Final Fantasy XIV, a developer photo opp, as well as a fan gathering originally set to take place on February 28. The reasoning for Square Enix’s event cancellations is similar to Sony’s as the company looks to avoid exposing its employees to possible Coronavirus risks.
Again, like Sony, many of the Square Enix team have to fly internationally from places like Japan to PAX East. While many will note that Boston isn’t exactly a hotbed of Coronavirus, flying internationally is definitely a risk not just for the employees, but to people at PAX in the event that an employee has COVID-19 but is unaware they have it.
It’s been proven that COVID-19 can spread even when a person is asymptomatic, making it even harder for airlines to be able to tell whether a passenger has the illness. It also makes it harder for international companies to tell whether an employee has the illness and is at risk of spreading it to fellow employees.
For Square Enix fans saddened by the news of Square Enix’s reduced participation, it’s worth noting that again, the Final Fantasy XIV booth (#15010) will remain intact on the show floor. In place of the in-person panel, Square Enix has decided to host a livestream on the Final Fantasy XIV Twitch channel on Saturday, February 29 at 8:00 p.m. (EST) where team members from Japan will speak on the original subject of artwork in Final Fantasy XIV.
It’s clear that Square Enix is doing everything they can to make up for their absences and event cancellations and we appreciate the efforts they’re taking to keep their employees safe. PAX East will continue as planned despite companies like Sony and Square Enix cancelling due to COVID-19. For PAX attendees worried about the illness, PAX has confirmed they’ll be taking extra safety and sanitation measures this year.
It’s also recommended that you wash your hands frequently, use hand sanitizer, and avoid touching your face. After hearing Square Enix is cancelling events at PAX East 2020, what are your thoughts? Are you happy to hear they’re joining Sony in protecting international employees, or are you sad that events like the Friday fan gathering have been scrapped? Comment below!