The mayor of Boston has asked Sony to rethink its PAX East pullout, indicating that the odds of coronavirus spreading in the city are extremely low.
In a letter to Sony's President and CEO, Kenichiro Yoshida, Mayor Walsh emphasizes the low risk of contracting coronavirus and that officials do not see any need for organizations to cancel their appearance in city events.
Walsh also questioned the fears surrounding the coronavirus, saying that "These fears reinforce harmful stereotypes that generations of Asians have worked hard to dismantle ... 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. Boston is united in our efforts to dispel these harmful and misguided fears."
Sony had announced prior their plans to forego PAX East, citing concerns for the health and safety of their global workforce. Originally, Sony would have brought quite a spectacle of games to the showcase, including the hotly anticipated Final Fantasy VII remake. Sony has also announced they will not be attending the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
There are fears of coronavirus spread in Boston because a University of Massachusetts at Boston student, who returned home from Wuhan, China, had come down with the virus. The student was placed at home in isolation and the University Health official said the risk of the virus spreading was minimal.
Mayor Walsh's concerns over feelings surrounding Asian-Americans in light of the virus come from the steep decline in business Boston's Chinatown area has suffered since fears of the virus began. This same situation has occurred in Chinatowns throughout the U.S., leading to efforts to support Chinatown eateries.
PAX East is an indie game showcase in Boston every year, running from February 27 - March 1 this year.
Do you think Sony was right to pull out of PAX East? Are fears surrounding the coronavirus in the US well-founded? Let us know in the comments below!