Organisers cancel E3 video game gala return to in-person event as long-running conference struggles to adapt to post-Covid world
Organisers have cancelled this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, known as E3 – planned to be the event’s first in-person edition since 2019.
The event, previously scheduled to be held in Los Angeles in June, will not be held in person or online after a number of major game studios pulled out.
Assassin’s Creed developer Ubisoft was the latest to say it wouldn’t participate, joining Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony and others.
Since its inception in 1995 E3 had become known as the video game industry’s biggest single gala, drawing crowds from around the world to see new game launches and live demonstrations of upcoming titles.
The event was attended by stars such as Keanu Reeves, who appeared at the 2019 event to promote the then-upcoming game Cyberpunk 2077, not to mention Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Elon Musk, Stephen Spielberg, Tony Hawk and late footballer Pele.
Consoles including the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii U held splashy launches at E3.
But during pandemic lockdowns the biggest game studios became accustomed to holding their own more frequent livestreamed events to promote game launches, rather than a single annual in-person focal point.
Ubisoft reportedly said it is planning to hold its own event this summer instead of attending E3.
“This was a difficult decision because of all the effort we and our partners put toward making this event happen, but we had to do what’s right for the industry and what’s right for E3,” said Kyle Marsden-Kish of organiser Reedpop in a joint statement with the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).
“We appreciate and understand that interested companies wouldn’t have playable demos ready and that resourcing challenges made being at E3 this summer an obstacle they couldn’t overcome.
“For those who did commit to E3 2023, we’re sorry we can’t put on the showcase you deserve and that you’ve come to expect from ReedPop’s event experiences.”
The two organisations said they would “re-evaluate the future of E3” but that they planned to work together on future events.