Update: The ESA has officially confirmed the cancellation of E3 2020, released a statement that explains it will no longer be holding the event due to increasing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, which is slowly spreading globally.
“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,” the ESA said in a statement.
“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.”
The ESA has said it will be in touch with attendees and exhibitors regarding full refunds, and has said that E3 2021 will go ahead “as a reimagined event that brings fans, media and the industry together in a showcase that celebrates the global video game industry.” Fingers crossed the growing pandemic will be under control by that time.
“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,” the statement explains.
The ESA has said it is exploring options for an online experience which will presumably replace the major reveals and announcements we normally see at the show, although we wouldn’t be surprsed is publishers instead decide to hold their own shows independent of E3 2020.
Original story follows:
Given the increasingly dramatic steps governments and businesses around the world are taking to try and limit the impact of the coronavirus, E3 – the biggest gaming convention, due to be held in June – felt increasingly unlikely.
Now, according to multiple sources reporting to Ars Technica, that decision has indeed been made, and will be made official imminently.
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One source said that E3’s cancellation had been communicated “directly from ESA [Entertainment Software Association] members” and was supposed to be made official on Tuesday, only to slip. Indie developer Devolver Digital potentially let the cat out of the bag a little early simply tweeting: “Cancel your E3 flights and hotels, y’all.”
It’s not clear at this point whether E3 will be fully cancelled, postponed or simply carried out behind closed doors and streamed into homes. If the sources are correct, we should find out what this means in short order.
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In the absence of an official announcement, we can only speculate at the reasoning, but you’d bet your bottom dollar that it involves the word “coronavirus” given the global outbreak has already seen the cancellation of MWC and Google I/O, alongside a hit to tech supply chains worldwide. As recently as last month, the ESA was “monitoring and evaluating the situation daily,” but ultimately planning for “a safe and successful E3 Show.”
While we’re rapidly approaching a situation where it’s more of a news story for events not to be cancelled, the loss of E3 isn’t as big a deal as it would have been a few years ago. In recent years, the biggest names in gaming have become less likely to show up. The likes of Nintendo, EA and Activision-Blizzard have all given it a miss in recent years, and Sony had already confirmed it wouldn’t be in attendance for the second year running, too – despite the upcoming release of the PS5.