Intel is greatly reducing its presence at CES 2022, closing its booth and minimizing the number of staff at the show. Its forward facing activities will be entirely digital.
“The health and safety of our employees, partners and customers is always a top priority," Intel told Tom's Hardware. "After consulting with health officials and in the spirit of Intel’s safety policy, our plans for CES will move to a digital-first, live experience, with minimal on-site staff. We encourage you to join us as we deliver all our CES content and experiences virtually via the Intel Newsroom (opens in new tab).”
Intel has a number of events planned, including a press conference with Gregory Bryant, executive vice president and manager of the client computing group and Amnon Shashua, the founder of MobilEye ahead of the show on Jan. 4 in the Mandalay Bay hotel. That already had a livestream option, however, as does a separate MobilEye deep dive.
“We will not have a booth at CES this year," an Intel spokesperson told us. "The number of employees attending in-person will be greatly minimized to include only those critical to support Intel's digital-first, live experience. In-person support for CES is opt-in for the small team on-site.”
The company said that the change is not due to the Consumer Technology Association's guidelines (the CTA runs CES), but as a result of monitoring the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Intel is typically a huge presence at CES, supporting a number of manufacturers that make computers and other technologies using its chips. This year, it didn't rent out the typical large booth space in the Las Vegas Convention Center prior to pulling out of the show.
The chipmaker is following Amazon, T-Mobile, Lenovo, AT&T, Waymo, Facebook parent Meta and other exhibitors that have decided not to attend the show in person or greatly reduce operations over the past few days. Additionally, many media outlets, including Tom's Hardware, TechRadar, Engadget, Gizmodo and PCMag have chosen to cover the show virtually.
CES had hoped to make a grand return to Las Vegas this year, with an in-person conference after a virtual show in Las Vegas in 2021, but a fast-moving surge of COVID-19 cases due to the Delta and Omicron variants is dampening some of that excitement. At the moment, the show is still scheduled to run from Jan. 5 to Jan. 8, 2022.
CES organizers are mandating vaccines for in-person attendees and recommending testing. The company will be providing rapid tests to attendees at certain badge pickup areas. Earlier this week, Gary Shapiro, the head of the Consumer Technology Association, which runs CES, told the Associated Press that the chip shortage was causing more cancellations than COVID-19, though most companies have cited health risks as the reason for their cancellation.
Update: December 23, 7:12 p.m. - A previous version of this story stated that Intel had "pulled out" of CES, but, after receiving clarification from Intel, we have updated the headline and text to reflect that fact that the company will have some opt-in staff on site, despite cancelling its booth and making its events virtual.
Also this does not mean smaller ones won't do it too, it's just the big boys set the tone now so that everyone gets in line.