The mayor of Boston has reached out to Sony, asking it to reverse its decision to stay away from PAX East this year, stating that the decision should have been motivated by "facts, not fear".
PlayStation confirmed earlier this week that it would no longer attend PAX East (operated by Eurogamer's US parent company Reedpop) due to "increasing concerns" surrounding coronavirus.
While it insists it made "the best option as the situation related to the virus and global travel restrictions are changing daily", the mayor of Boston - the US city that hosts PAX East - sent a letter to Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida intimating the decision to pull out served to reinforce "harmful stereotypes" about Chinese citizens, and were fuelled by "confusion and lack of information".
"These fears reinforce harmful stereotypes that generations of Asians have worked hard to dismantle," Walsh said in the letter (thanks WCVB, via VGC). "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.
"As a large, international company, you have an opportunity to set a good example," he added. "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."
At the time of writing, Sony has not responded publicly to Walsh's letter.
Sony's decision not to attend means a planned demo of highly-anticipated The Last of Us Part 2 will now not be available for attendees.
"We're so sad to have to miss PAX East!" Naughty Dog said via Twitter. "We were really looking forward to meeting you and seeing your reactions to the demo. Although we know this makes the wait until May 29 a bit harder, we appreciate your understanding. Don't worry, we'll have more to share closer to launch."