Sony pulled out of the gaming expo earlier this week, due to concerns around the novel coronavirus COVID19. “We felt this was the safest option as the situation is changing daily,” it said.
A playable demo of The Last of Us 2 was due to premiere at the show.
The company also pulled out of San Francisco’s Game Developers Conference this week, alongside Oculus owner Facebook.
Now Mayor of Boston Marty Walsh has sent a letter to Sony’s CEO Kenichiro Yoshida, according to WCVB, stating that the risk of contracting the coronavirus in Massachusetts remains extremely low and that nobody should cancel their plans to visit Boston.
The mayor said that fears about the coronavirus are fuelled by “confusion and lack of information,” which has also led to anti-Chinese sentiment.
Business in Boston’s Chinatown district is said to have suffered significantly since the coronavirus outbreak began in China.
“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. Boston is united in our efforts to dispel these harmful and misguided fears.”
The Mayor added: “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. As a leader in gaming and culture, you can show that you believe in connection, not isolation.”
On Thursday GDC reiterated that it intends to go ahead with this year’s event in March. It will put extra measures in place to ensure visitor safety, it said.
“We believe that, based on the strict U.S. quarantine around coronavirus and a large number of enhanced on-site measures, we are able to execute a safe and successful event for our community,” it said. “Locally, the Department of Health for both the State of California and the City of San Francisco support the convening of public events. See their statements here: CDPH, SFDPH
“We are also continuing to follow the latest CDC and WHO guidance, following in the footsteps of other large international events that are taking place successfully at the Moscone Center.”