While the world quietly – or not so quietly – melts down in the face of the Covid-19 Coronavirus, the game’s industry looks as though it’s about to take another blow with multiple sources reporting that E3 has been cancelled.
Update 3:50PM – The ESA have posted the following statement, making this completely, 100% officially cancelled. It’s done. Not postponed, just gone. See you in 2021, E3.
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 decision to cancel E3 2020, scheduled for June 9-11 in Los Angeles.
Following increased and overwhelming concerns about the COVID-19 virus, we felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation. We are very disappointed that we are unable to hold this event for our fans and supporters. But we know it’s the right decision based on the information we have today.
Our team will be reaching out directly to exhibitors and attendees with information about providing full refunds.
We are also exploring options with our members to coordinate an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020. Updates will be shared on E3Expo.com.
We thank everyone who shared their views on reimagining E3 this year. We look forward to bringing you E3 2021 as a reimagined event that brings fans, media, and the industry together in a showcase that celebrates the global video game industry.
The original report follows:
Arguably the biggest event in the gaming calendar, and generally home to all the biggest announcements and console reveals of the year, this will mark the first year since its inception in 1996 that the event hasn’t happened. Devolver Digital, whose presence at the show has been a breath of fresh air in recent years, were amongst the first to get the ball rolling, posting the following to their Twitter feed.
Ars Technica followed things up by reporting that their source had “heard the news of E3 2020’s cancellation “directly from ESA members” and that an official, public statement on the matter “was supposed to be today [Tuesday, March 10] and slipped.””
While we wait for official word from the ESA, it seems unlikely that this is a hoax. Things haven’t been looking that great for the event ever since GDC – the Game Developers Conference – was cancelled last week amid fears of Coronavirus, with first Sony pulling out, then Microsoft, Facebook, Epic and Unity. That didn’t really leave much on the show floor. It’s highly likely, and especially in the face of growing cases of the virus, that the ESA – the body behind E3 – decided to follow suit.
Up until recently the ESA were holding true to their course, willing to bring in safety measures to deal with the potential for viral transmission amongst the attendees. However, they took a big hit when the creative team they’d hired, iam8bit, subsequently quit. Since then multiple expos, festivals and sporting events have been cancelled around the world and seemingly E3 is now the latest victim.
The gaming world does at least have the advantage of being able to roll everything out online. Nintendo moved to their Nintendo Direct format a number of years ago, with Sony beginning to follow suit in 2019. This was all set to be Microsoft’s year on the show floor, but now you’d have to imagine that the announcements will be happening via livestream, without a live audience.
Stay tuned as we learn more.