The ESA may have officially canceled E3, but publishers and console manufacturers are already lining up to offer alternative digital events.
It’s official. The Entertainment Software Association corroborated the widely-circulated rumors of the imminent cancellation of E3 this afternoon.
For the first time in 25 years, E3 is off, and the Los Angeles Convention Center won’t be the epicenter of the gaming world for a few short days in June.
In a statement detailing the decision to cancel the expo, the ESA writes:
After careful consultation with our member companies regarding the health and safety of everyone in our industry – our fans, our employees, our exhibitors, and our longtime E3 partners – we have made the difficult decision to cancel E3 2020, scheduled for June 9-11 in Los Angeles.
Publishers, developers, industry insiders, and console manufacturers lined up to pay their respects in the wake of the news.
But, it’s not all doom and gloom – and it certainly won’t ruin your summer.
We’ll still be getting our fix our video game reveals and announcements come June if early mentions of alternative plans are anything to go by.
The ESA says it is investigating “an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news” in place of the expo.
We imagine something along the lines of what has been put in place after GDC was canceled last month. The organizers will stream talks and panels online next week, including fresh Xbox Series X news from Microsoft.
Similarly, Xbox head Phil Spencer revealed that contingency plans were afoot in Microsoft’s camp.
Speaking of the cancellation just minutes after it was announced, he said;
Given this decision, this year, we’ll celebrate the next generation of gaming with the Xbox community and all who love to play via an Xbox digital event. Details on timing and more in the coming weeks.
Ubisoft, who stands among the major publishers to grace the event each year, is “exploring other options for a digital experience.”
As for other publishers we can expect to hear from in June, EA already hosts its own EA Play event on the sidelines of E3. Nintendo is likely to continue its pre-recorded Nintendo Direct.
Sony has already confirmed it’s opting out of E3 for the second year running, so nothing’s changed on that front.
For the average player unable to attend E3, we can expect something akin to business as usual. Signs point to a decent selection of reveals and announcements in digital form.
The real impact will be elsewhere. Smaller developers will miss out on the opportunity to broker deals born of chance meetings at E3. These can often define their futures and provide exposure to games that would otherwise have gone unnoticed.
Those repercussions are hard to gauge right now, but they may be wide-reaching for many developers.