PlayStation 5 and Call of Duty events delayed due to US protests

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Sony has delayed hosting a showcase event for its next games console.

In a statement it did not directly mention the civil unrest in the US, but alluded to it saying "we do not feel that right now is a time for celebration", adding it wanted "more important voices to be heard".

The firm had been set to unveil some of the games in development for its forthcoming PlayStation 5 on Thursday.

Hours later, Activision delayed the release of new Call of Duty content.

The firm said "now is not the time" to launch new seasons for its online battle-royale first-person shooter Modern Warfare: Warzone and smartphone app Call of Duty: Mobile.

It had been expected that both free-to-play products would launch this week, presenting the firm a fresh opportunity to sell character outfits and other in-game items.

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The announcement came shortly after President Trump threatened to deploy "heavily armed soldiers [and] military personnel" to end the unrest in the US.

Other technology firms have also cancelled planned launch events.

Games publisher Electronic Arts postponed its reveal event for its latest sports title, Madden NFL 21, issuing a statement saying "we stand with our African American / Black community... we'll find another time to talk football with you".

Google had earlier delayed an online event for the next version of Android.

The US tech giant had planned to show off new features of the mobile operating system on Wednesday, as well as release a version for testers.

On the Android Developer website, it had issued a similar statement saying: "Now is not the time to celebrate."

It avoided directly mentioning the protests that have followed the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died in police custody a week ago when a white police officer knelt on his neck.

AirBnB pulled a planned video message from its chief executive about the future of travel, Bloomberg reported.

And the telecoms firm Cisco cancelled a two-day virtual conference hours before it was due to begin, and urged its followers to "make progress towards a better, more inclusive world".

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Sony's move avoids the risks inherent in trying to promote games likely to involve violent combat at a time when stand-offs and clashes are occurring across the US.

Many of those who would have covered the launch welcomed the decision.

"Good - you'll have to excuse me for not being in the mood for next-gen hype this week," tweeted Samit Sarkar, front page editor of the games news website Polygon.

Rachel Weber, managing director of GamesRadar added: "Well done Sony."

While Sony only made indirect reference to the protests in its postponement notice, it had been more explicit about its views in earlier social media posts.

"We denounce systemic racism and violence against the black community. We will continue to work towards a future marked by empathy and inclusion and stand with our black creators, players, employees, families and friends. #BlackLivesMatter," it had tweeted a few hours earlier.

One of its games studios, Naughty Dog, also posted that it was donating to national and local US organisations to help tackle racism and injustice.

Other games companies that are planning launches over the coming days - including at Saturday's PC Gaming Show - may now come under pressure to reconsider their plans if the civil unrest in the US continues.

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