Update: CTA head Gary Shapiro has offered TechCrunch the following updated statement,
Over 2200 companies are confirmed to participate in person at CES 2022 in Las Vegas. Our focus remains on convening the tech industry and giving those who cannot attend in person the ability to experience the magic of CES digitally. CES 2022 will provide an opportunity for companies from around the world, both large and small, to launch products, build brands and form partnerships. 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 can have a socially distanced but worthwhile and productive event in Las Vegas, or while experiencing it online.
The last several years have seen a massive increase in automotive presence at CES. It’s not a car show exactly, but as more car makers adopt a technology-first approach, it sure feels like it’s getting there. Tonight, however, General Motors became the latest in a long string of top names bailing out of an in-person presence at the massive Consumer Electronics Show.
“We have decided to move to an all-digital approach with our activation at CES 2022 in January,” company said in a statement. “We are continuing with our plans on Jan. 5 to share our significant company news, including the reveal of the Chevrolet Silverado EV.”
It’s a big change for a company with a big planned presence, including a headlining keynote address from CEO Mary Barra, as well as the in-person debut of the electric Chevy Silverado. Barra plans to give her talk remotely now, according to the company. GM isn’t the first car marker to reverse its plans, but it is the largest. It follows similar announcements from Waymo and Intel, which has a sizable presence in the form of Mobileye. Notably, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is currently scheduled to be interviewed by Qualcomm President and CEO, Cristiano Amon.
Other big, recently dropped dominoes include Google, Lenovo, T-Mobile, AT&T, Meta, Twitter, Amazon, TikTok, Pinterest, and Casio as well as a number of prominent media outlets. Other companies, including Nvidia, had planned a virtual-first presence from the outset. After narrowly dodging the first COVID-19 wave in early 2020, CES was expected to be a major return for in-person tech events — albeit one that would be more muted than in past years.
The persistence of the virus’s omicron variant has, however, changed plans for a number of companies, large and small. When we last spoke to the CTA earlier today, however, the show’s governing body still planned to go forward with the event, employing increased safety measures, including vaccine mandates.