The news of E3 2020’s cancellation isn’t much of a surprise for anyone that’s even vaguelly aware of the Covid-19 coronavirus, but today’s official confirmation of the trade show’s demise means that publishers and manufacturers are already making adjustments.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer revealed that they’re adapting their plan to hold an Xbox Series X showcase at E3 into an “Xbox digital event”, details and timing of which will be coming soon.
E3 has always been an important moment for Team Xbox. 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 https://t.co/xckMKBPf9h
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) March 11, 2020
Similarly, Ubisoft leant the ESA their support over the decision to cancel E3 2020, stating that they too are now exploring options to host a “digital experience” and showcase their planned announcements from the show.
An update regarding E3 2020. pic.twitter.com/cThkDIkfVm
— Ubisoft (@Ubisoft) March 11, 2020
This follows with the ESA’s own statements on the matter, saying, “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.”
Of course, the vast majority of people consume the news and trailers out of E3 online these days, so the transition from hosting a press conference to something closer to a Nintendo Direct should be relatively painless. It will just mean that there won’t be a live audience to whoop and holler. This will be similar to the solution coming out of GDC, which was similarly cancelled and is planning to host online panels in place of the in person ones at a regular show.
The main thing that will be missing is the reporting that comes after that, with journalists and influencers from around the world unable to follow up with hands on sessions with these games and interviews. It will be up to publishers to organise smaller local events or private online sessions for journalists to be able to preview their games.