Following on swiftly from OnePlus, AMD and MSI dropping out, Mercedes, HMD Global (Nokia phones) and BMW are among the latest brands to confirm they have cancelled plans to attend CES 2022 in-person - taking the list to over 20 high-profile names to have now dropped out - but the show's organizer remains adamant that "it's not time to pull the plug on CES 2022."
The brands stepping back from a physical presence at the show all cite the continued spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 as the reason for their decision - yet it's still all systems go, according to the trade organization behind the event.
In an op-ed for the Las Vegas Review Journal (opens in new tab) on Christmas Day, head of the CTA (the firm which puts on CES each year) Gary Shapiro maintained that CES 2022 will happen in-person.
"CES will and must go on" Shapiro writes. "It will have many more small companies than large ones. It may have big gaps on the show floor. Certainly, it will be different from previous years.
"It may be messy. But innovation is messy. It is risky and uncomfortable."
OnePlus, AMD and MSI join high-profile attendees including Google, GM, Intel, Amazon, Meta (formerly Facebook), Microsoft, Nvidia and T-Mobile in confirming they will not be attending CES 2022 in person due to Omicron.
The massive CES tech expo in Vegas has been in shock the past couple of week as most major tech media outlets - including TechRadar, Tom's Guide, The Verge, CNET, Engadget, TechCrunch, and Gizmodo - have also announced they will not be sending reporters to the show, to avoid the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Who has pulled out of CES 2022?
Below is a list of the most high-profile CES attendees that have so far announced that they won't be attending CES 2022 in person. In all, over 75 companies have now cancelled their presence at the show.
As the situation develops we'll likely see more companies update their plans, so expect to see this list grow in the build-up to CES 2022's start date.
- HMD Global (Nokia Phones)
- Proctor & Gamble
- Stern Pinball
Worries spreading like a virus
This year's show, which opens on January 5, was meant to herald a return to normality, with in-person attendance making a comeback after CES 2021 was relegated to an online-only affair. But with an increasing number of big-name tech companies announcing they now won't have a physical presence at the show, it's leading many to question what an in-person show will now look like.
In a statement to Bloomberg, Amazon blamed the "quickly shifting situation and uncertainty around the Omicron variant" for its decision to change its plans. Meta, T-Mobile and Twitter cited similar concerns in their statements outlining why they're no longer sending staff to CES 2022.
CES's organizers have implemented a slew of health protocols for the event, including requiring that all attendees prove they're vaccinated against Covid-19; but this hasn't been sufficient reassurance for the aforementioned companies, who've chosen to play it safe and attend this year's show virtually.
TechRadar has also decided that we won't be covering CES 2022 in person, out of concern for the health and wellbeing of our journalists, but rest assured we'll still be bringing you extensive coverage of the event, delivering minute-by-minute breaking news of product launches and other major announcements, and in-depth analysis of the new tech you need to know about.
Despite the high-profile no-shows, CES's organizers do not currently intend to the format of this year's event. When asked for comment on December 22, a representative for CTA - the team behind CES - let us know that "CES  will still take place January 5-8 in Las Vegas."
They added, "Thousands of entrepreneurs, businesses, media, and buyers are planning to come to Las Vegas. Top leaders from federal and state and foreign governments are attending. And, we have received several thousand new registrants since late last week.
"Given CES' comprehensive health measures - vaccination requirement, masking and availability of COVID-19 tests - coupled with lower attendance and social distancing measures, we are confident that attendees and exhibitors will have a socially distanced but worthwhile and productive event."
Is CES 2022 canceled?
There have been no announcement suggesting CES 2022 won't go ahead as planned; CES event organizers have told us that they will still hold an in-person event in Las Vegas from January 5 to January 8.
And with the show right around the corner, a costly about-face to a completely virtual event is clearly not in cards.
We'll bring you all the latest news on the event as we get it – and remember, tune in to TechRadar for in-depth coverage of CES 2022, whatever format it appears in.