The Entertainment Software Association has announced that E3 2022 will once again be an online-only event, citing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as the primary reasoning for the decision.
In a statement to VentureBeat the ESA said, “Due to the ongoing health risks surrounding COVID-19 and its potential impact on the safety of exhibitors and attendees, E3 will not be held in person in 2022. We remain incredibly excited about the future of E3 and look forward to announcing more details soon.”
Meanwhile, Geoff Keighley vehicle Summer Game Fest, which emerged in 2020 as a way to fill the void left behind the completely cancelled E3 from that year, has confirmed that it will return this summer. Because we didn’t have enough of Geoff presenting and giving forewords to literally ever single game announcement and trailer in the universe over the past 18-24 months.
— Geoff Keighley (@geoffkeighley) January 6, 2022
The concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic remain very real, especially as new and more transmissible variants seem to be popping up all the time, but it’s still surprising that the ESA hadn’t waited until a bit closer to the time to see how the virus is impacting every day life. The CES 2022 tech trade show has gone ahead in Las Vegas this week, which was probably a really bad idea given the Omicron variant’s spread around the globe, but the summer months have seen countries feel able to lift lockdowns and bullishness surrounding vaccination programmes has helped to avoid the strictest lockdowns in many countries.
Again, it’s probably the right call, but feels odd to be coming six months in advance.
That is if the pandemic is the actual reason for cancelling the physical event. Analyst Mike Futter took to Twitter to counter this claim by saying that the ESA had already abandoned their dates for the LA Convention Centre back in November.
This is spin. I heard from sources in mid-November, before Omicron's emergence at the end of that month that the ESA had abandoned their dates for the LACC. https://t.co/2oIbkNDFBx
— Mike Futter (@Futterish) January 6, 2022
He continued to say that publishers have all seen the benefits of marketing directly to customers with their own streams, instead of paying for expensive show floor space for a select few. That was already evident prior to the current situation, as one by one Nintendo, EA, Activision and Sony started to step away from E3 and start marching to their own tune.
I’m sure we can expect that E3 will try to put itself at the centre of this summer’s bonanza of streams and game announcements, but COVID-19 or not, it feels like the trade show’s goose is getting cooked… and Geoff’s getting the first serving.