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Another Nail Drills E3’s Coffin after Square Enix Confirms Digital Event

Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:40 PM
Thomas Bardwell
Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:40 PM
  • Gaming’s biggest conference, E3 2020, is canceled.
  • Square Enix has revealed it is ‘exploring other options’ to bring its 2020 lineup to players.
  • The publishers join Ubisoft and Xbox in announcing alternative plans in what may become the norm in future editions of E3.

Square Enix has announced that it is exploring alternative options to showcase its E3 lineup in the wake of the ESA canceling the expo due to coronavirus concerns earlier this week.

Source: Twitter

In a statement published on Twitter, Square Enix says ;

We support the ESA’s decision to cancel E3 2020 and send our strongest heartfelt appreciation to everyone that works tirelessly to bring unforgettable games and experiences to E3.

The Japanese publisher continues:

Our 2020 lineup, and the next generation that lies beyond, is stronger than ever for Square Enix. Where E3 has always been an incredible moment in time to showcase our upcoming games, we’re exploring other options to share our games with you. More to come, stay tuned.

Ubisoft, Microsoft, and More Planning Alternative E3 Events

With its press conference a regular fixture at E3 throughout the expo’s twenty-five-year history, Square Enix joins Microsoft and Ubisoft in considering alternative E3 plans.

Shortly after the ESA confirmed E3’s cancellation, both issued statements advising that they planned to bring a ‘digital experience’ presumably in the form a live-streamed event to viewers around the world.. The ESA also confirmed it was keen to rustle up ‘an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news.’

Source: Twitter

Warner Bros. is reportedly planning a Nintendo-Direct style event to replace what would have been the publisher’s first proper E3 show similar to those held by gaming’s biggest names like Xbox, EA, and Nintendo.

Reports suggest the publisher planned to lift the curtain on WB Montreal’s new Batman title, an open-world Harry Potter game, and the latest project currently in the works at Rocksteady Studios.

Digital Experiences Likely To Become The Norm

The promise of alternative streams from the biggest names in gaming will surely dampen the disappointment of many. It may also foreshadow what shape the expo may take in the future.

Despite the ESA claiming it is planning ‘a reimagined event that brings fans, media, and the industry together’ , there’s a sense that remote live-streamed digital conferences away from E3’s LA Convention Center stomping ground will become the norm.

E3 has lost the favor of gaming companies and attendees in recent years. With the expo’s identity wavering between being industry-specific and opening to the public in recent years, E3 is struggling to find its core identity.

Sony began the trend after bailing on E3 2019 | Source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP

Before coronavirus concerns brought around the cancellation of E3 2020, Sony had already announced it would miss the expo for the second year running.

The loss of such a big player can’t be understated. A massive leak that offered unrestricted access to the personal details of press attendees  during E3 2019 did little to help matters.

This year’s cancellation is merely the latest chapter in the expo’s steady decline.