The Entertainment Software Association has thrown E3 2024 into serious doubt as they cancelled their partnership with show-runners ReedPop, and have told the LA Convention Center that they will not be putting on a show there in 2024.
E3 2024 isn’t totally cancelled, but if it does happen, then the ESA will need to find new partners and a new venue to hold it. Given their track record over the past few years, that…. doesn’t seem likely to happen, or to not then be quickly cancelled.
E3 hasn’t really been a thing since the 2020 edition was called off in height of the COVID-19 pandemic – and its creative directors quit after 5 weeks. It did return a year later as a digital event in 2021, but the first real opportunity to run a show in person again went begging in 2022, first shifting to a digital only format and then being cancelled outright.
So, for 2023, the ESA turned to proven showrunners ReedPop, who are best known for holding the PAX public events across the US, as well as EGX and Rezzed in the UK – they also own Gamer Network, which includes major sites like Eurogamer and GamesIndustry.biz. Except that didn’t go to plan. There was a firm outline of dates and format, but as we got to the spring, a bunch of companies backed out, and the whole thing was called off a few days later.
Now ReedPop has been dropped, and there’s no clear vision for what E3 will actually be in future.
“We appreciate ReedPop’s partnership over the past 14 months and support their ongoing efforts to bring industry and fans together through their various events,” said ESA president and CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis.
“While the reach of E3 remains unmatched in our industry, we are continuing to explore how we can evolve it to best serve the video game industry and are evaluating every aspect of the event, from format to location. We are committed to our role as a convenor for the industry and look forward to sharing news about E3 in the coming months.”
The problem for the ESA is, who’s going to partner with them now? Sure, they can book a venue and maybe try to bring on a new team to organise the show, but as we saw in 2022 and 2023, publishers and console manufacturers are now more than happy to do their own thing and/or partner with Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest.
Summer Game Fest has effectively replaced E3 since 2020 with an opening stream that leads into a few days of separate streams by other companies. As of last year, that’s been partnered with a smaller in-person event for press and media, and this looks set to continue into 2024 and beyond.
So… who needs E3 when there’s already a smaller fake E3 that they can do instead?
Speaking of Geoff Keighley, you’ll probably want to avoid his social media for a few hours so he can get his smug sub-tweets out of the way.