Posted in: Gaming News
Published:
March 11, 2020 1:02 PM UTC

E3 Will Be Canceled – But Don’t Blame Its Irrelevance on Coronavirus

Rumors among industry insiders suggest gaming's E3 expo won't happen this year due to coronavirus. But E3 was already irrelevant.

  • E3 won’t happen this year, according to publishers and industry insiders.
  • Organizer ESA will reportedly make a formal announcement later today.
  • The cancellation is due to coronavirus concerns and the expo’s steady decline in recent years.

E3 won’t happen this year. Or at least, that’s the word on the grapevine. From industry insiders to publishers slated to attend the yearly gaming conference, everyone is hinting at an imminent announcement from E3’s organizer, the Entertainment Software Association.

Publishers and Insiders Hint at Imminent Cancellation

Publisher Devolver Digital took to Twitter to pen a tweet recommending that would-be attendees cancel their plans.

Source: Twitter

Kotaku’s Jason Schreier followed suit shortly afterward, pointing to “secondhand whispers tonight from several devs/pubs that E3 is canceled.” Numerous others echoed the news.

Source: Twitter

Short of an official announcement confirming the reasons behind the cancellation, the natural assumption is coronavirus concerns.

The outbreak has hit stock markets across the globe. Italy has instated a nationwide lockdown. Organizers have postponed or outright canceled numerous other gaming events, including eSports fixtures, the Games Developers Conference, and TwitchCon Amsterdam.

With E3 drawing in thousands of attendees, limiting transmission of the virus seems like a responsible course of action.

We should know more soon. Bloomberg, citing a source “familiar with the matter,” says the ESA will put an official stamp on the rumored cancellation later today at 9:30 am PT.

E3 Was Declining Before the Coronavirus Hit

While the coronavirus outbreak stands as the catalyst for the rumored cancellation, E3’s wilting relevance certainly hasn’t helped.

Back in January, Sony confirmed it wouldn’t be attending E3 for the second year running – damning news given the Japanese giant opted to forego E3 during an all-important console launch year.

In February, The Game Awards lead and all-round gaming host for hire, Geoff Keighley, announced he would not be involved in this year’s event. Last week, events company iam8bit resigned as creative directors of E3.

It doesn’t sound like anyone will be playing at this year’s E3, after all. | Source: ESA

These are merely the most recent high-profile bow-outs.

EA has held its own satellite EA Play event away from the bustling crowds of the Los Angeles Convention Center for three years. Nintendo’s keynote has morphed into a standalone pre-recorded Direct broadcast online.

The trend sees publishers inching away from the traditional formula for the expo.

With E3’s cancellation all but confirmed, we’re likely to see more publishers opt to host standalone events (likely online), which may have a long-lasting impact on the future of E3.

This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.

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Thomas Bardwell @TomBWrites

UK-based video game writer. Contact: thomas.bardwell[at]ccn[dot]com

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