Sony was widely expected to copy its PlayStation 4 launch schedule for the PS5 in 2020 and unveil the new console during a PlayStation Meeting press conference in February. That hasn’t happened so far, and the PlayStation 5 announcement will likely come at a much later date. Unlike the PS4 in 2013, there’s one huge difference that’s impacting Sony’s schedule, and that’s the coronavirus threat that already prompted the company’s mobile division to pull out of MWC 2020 well before the congress was officially canceled. And now Sony’s PlayStation arm decided it won’t attend PAX East either, due to the same concerns over the COVID-19 virus outbreak.
PAX East will take place between February 27th and May 1st, and the conference will go ahead as planned despite Sony’s decision to withdraw. “While we are saddened that Sony will no longer have a presence at PAX East 2020, we look forward to welcoming our friends at Sony to future PAX events and are focused on making PAX East 2020 a successful and enjoyable event for all attendees and exhibitors,” a blog post from the organizers reads, adding that the event will take place as scheduled “with enhanced cleaning and sanitization across the show.”
Sony announced its withdrawal from the show with an update to an older post on the PlayStation blog that teased Sony’s plan for the trade show:
Today, Sony Interactive Entertainment made the decision to cancel its participation at PAX East in Boston this year due to increasing concerns related to COVID-19 (also known as “novel coronavirus”). We felt this was the safest option as the situation is changing daily. We are disappointed to cancel our participation in this event, but the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern.
Games like The Last of Us Part II and the Final Fantasy VII remake were mentioned in the previous announcement, but these experiences won’t be available now that Sony has withdrawn from the show.
If you were holding out hope that Sony would somehow pull off a move like Microsoft announce some new PS5 info during PAX, well, you can forget all about that. The Xbox Series X was unveiled in an unexpected announcement last December. Rather than holding its own press event, Microsoft surprised the Game Awards audience by revealing the console’s name and design during the show.
Sony had already pulled out of E3 long before coronavirus concerns prompted companies to withdraw from MWC and other trade shows. At the time, the move did seem a little surprising, considering this is the year when Sony’s next major console launches. And let’s not forget, Sony used E3 2013 to reveal more details about the PS4.
With all that in mind, and with no end in sight to the significant coronavirus threat, it’s unclear when the PlayStation 5 will be unveiled.