Kojima Productions is the latest company to opt out of a major industry event due to concerns surrounding the novel coronavirus, as studio representatives will no longer be attending this year’s Game Developers Conference.
The company announced this through a statement on its website, which will see the cancellation of presentations by both Hideo Kojima and AI Programmer Eric Johnson. The full statement reads as follows:
“Kojima Productions has made the difficult decision to cancel our participation at the 2020 Game Developers Conference due to increasing concerns related to novel coronavirus. Although much-anticipated, unfortunately this cancellation also includes Hideo Kojima’s session on the 19th and Eric Johnson’s session on the 16th.”
Kojima Productions is following in the footsteps of other companies like Sony and Oculus, both of which announced it would no longer be attending GDC last week for the same reason. Since the event is still a few weeks away, it’s plausible that more companies will also drop out, as seeing big names worried enough about its employees contracting the COVID-19 to cancel its travel plans won’t go unnoticed.
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This was relatively far in advance for GDC compared to Sony dropping out of PAX East last Wednesday, as the convention begins in Boston later this week. The company planned to publicly show off games like The Last of Us: Part II at the event, but pulled out in the eleventh hours, stating “the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern.”
Sony’s very public statement prompted a response from the Marty Walsh, the mayor of Boston, who said in a letter to the company that the issue is not widespread enough to merit such a reaction.
“While we understand that you are concerned for the health and safety of your workforce, we urge you to reconsider and to learn more about the realities of this global health issue,” Walsh said in his letter.
As of this writing, only one case of COVID-19 has been discovered in Massachusetts.
At any rate, Fanbyte is still going to PAX East and we’ll be holding a panel while we’re there.