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The South by Southwest (SXSW) festival is the latest event to be cancelled amid concerns around the COVID-19 coronavirus.
In a statement published on Friday, the event – which features music, film and video game content – said it was the City of Austin, Texas’s decision to cancel just one week before it was due to take place.
“We are devastated to share this news with you,” it said. “’The show must go on’ is in our DNA, and this is the first time in 34 years that the March event will not take place. We are now working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation.”
It added: “As recently as Wednesday, Austin Public Health stated that ‘there’s no evidence that closing SXSW or any other gatherings will make the community safer.’ However, this situation evolved rapidly, and we honor and respect the City of Austin’s decision.”
SXSW is now exploring options to reschedule the event and provide a “virtual SXSW online experience,” it said.
One prominent games panel affected by the cancellation was due to see Sega outline its future plans for Sonic the Hedgehog. The panel will be rescheduled in some form for April, Sega said.
The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has seen a number of major video game events cancelled in the start of 2020, most notably the Game Developers Conference.
ESA said it “continues to plan for a safe and successful E3 show” in June and is “monitoring and evaluating the situation daily.”