E3 2020 has been cancelled and will not proceed as planned in June, the ESA today confirmed.
For the first time in decades, gaming's popular annual trade show isn't happening. E3 2020 has been shuttered due to the looming threat of coronavirus contagion, and publishers are pivoting towards digital Nintendo Direct-style streams to show off their games.
The ESA plans to fully refund all tickets and is reaching out to exhibitors. Luckily the ESA is exploring options for a digital showcase of sorts.
"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," reads the announcement.
This disruption could have a long-lasting effect on E3 as publishers realize just how much cheaper it is to hold their own online videos.
E3 2020 promised to introduces many changes to the ESA's ailing showcase. The group planned to revitalize the show with immersive new experiences for attendees, gamers, and journalists alike--all while keeping their data safe this time.
Now publishers and games-makers will attach themselves to big marquee sizzle reels of Sony's PlayStation 5 and Microsoft's Xbox Series X, or simply host their own streams. Or both.
But they won't have to shell out for expensive booths, floor shows, and travel expenses.
E3 has been in trouble for a while now, and this pivot towards digital could be the death knell for the show. At the very least, some big changes are coming. Big players like Sony and EA pulled out for years running now to host their own shows off-site, taking away lots of power from the annualized event.
Here's the ESA's statement in full:
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 difficult 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.