Its hasn’t yet been officially announced but multiple reports are suggesting that E3 2020 is going to be cancelled amidst coronavirus concerns.
There’s a lot of panic flying about right now. Italy is on full lockdown, football matches are being played indoors and people are panic buying tissue worldwide. If E3 2020 does go ahead it may suffer from a lack of attendance.
Multiple sources that are aware of the Entertainment Software Associations (ESA)’s plans have reportedly confirmed to Ars Technica that the organisation behind the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) will soon announce the cancellation of this year’s expo.
Indie game publisher Devolver Digital took to twitter with a concerning tweet that may confirm all of this.
One source that spoke to Ars Technica said that they’ve heard the news of E3 2020’s cancellation directly from ESA members and that an official announcement was supposed to land yesterday (Tuesday, March 10) but for some reason, this didn’t happen.
Representatives of the ESA did not immediately respond to Ars Technica’s questions about the current state E3 or what is actually going to happen now. Will the event delay? Will it move? Will it be a totally virtual live-streamed event? Who knows.
It’s also unclear why exactly the event could be cancelled, the ESA already addressed the concerns of the spread of coronavirus insisting that they will still go ahead with a “safe and successful E3”. However, since then there has been a growing number of cases worldwide and so far coronavirus has affected a significant number of public events worldwide. Some of the events affected so far include Emerald City Comic Con, SXSW and the new James Bond movie No Time To Die which has now pushed it’s released back from April to November.
Journalist Mike Futter has taken to Twitter saying he has heard from multiple sources have told him an announcement is imminent.
Jason Schreier stressed that despite all the whispers of cancellation there is a lot of contradictory whispers saying otherwise.
Following the ESA’s announcement about continuing with the expo, E3’s creative directors, the merchandise events company iam8bit quit its position after only 5 weeks on the job.
E3 In More Danger Than We Think?
E3 may be be in more danger than we think and not just because of the coronavirus. In February, Geoff Keighley, an industry vet and long-time E3 collaborator announced he would be skipping E3 for the first time in 25 years. Historically, this is the man that hosted the main attraction at the expo, the E3 coliseum.
For the past 25 years, I have attended every Electronic Entertainment Expo. Covering, hosting, and sharing E3 has been a highlight of my year, not to mention a defining part of my career. I’ve debated what to say about E3 2020. While I want to support the developers who will showcase their work, I also need to be open and honest with you, the fan, about precisely what to expect from me.
I have made the difficult decision to devline to produce E3 Colisuem. For the first time in 25 years, I will not be participating in E3. I look forward to supporting the industry in other way and at other events in the future.Geoff Keighley
Outside of the organisers, E3 has also been having problems with major game publishers bowing out in last few years. Activision-Blizzard started flaking in 2016, EA dropped out that same year to run EA play, an event that now runs alongside E3 annually and Nintendo hasn’t hosted an E3 presentation for a while. Instead, they now host pre-filmed Nintendo Direct presentations on YouTube.
Sony’s absence in 2019 was considered a big deal but now with the upcoming release of the PlayStation 5 this year, their announcement that they were skipping E3 2020 is even more worrying. E3 is not as important to these companies as it once was. Once upon a time E3 was an important networking event for companies and distributors to get together but with the internet as accessible as it is now the world is more connected than ever. Which means E3 is no longer a nessecity for them.
It’s currently unknown what the future holds for E3 but we will certainly keep up filled in on any updates so make sure subscribe to our newletter!