The Video Game Industry’s Biggest Expo, E3, is Canceled for 2023

After announcing in 2022 that E3 is scheduled to return this year, the Entertainment Software Association is taking back its statement. Just before March 2023 concluded, they confirmed to its members that this year’s E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) had been canceled.

Initially, the show was slated to make a comeback after years of Covid-19 disruptions in Los Angeles. However, in a joint statement between the ESA and Reedpop—an events company—it would no longer push ahead. Based on a report published on March 30 by IGN, two sources have confirmed that ESA sent emails regarding the cancelation to its members. Welp, E3 is dead—again. And given the circumstances and their reasoning for the cancelation, it’s safe to say that the event is most likely good for good this time.

The Impact of E3 on Gamers

Fans of the show have touted E3 as their “video game Christmas.” The event has been a must-watch for every gamer since its fixture in the gaming industry calendar in 1995. Traditionally, it’s where the bigwigs—aka the console manufacturers and game publishers—announce what’s next for video games.

The Wii U, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 are the few consoles announced at the event. It’s where you’d get your news if you’re looking for new games or consoles. Until now, E3 has always been held in high regard, but it looks like that’s about to change soon. E3 2023’s cancellation strips the games industry of a focal point for marketing new titles. However, since the emergence of Covid, sharing news has shifted towards dedicated live-stream shows. Publishers are now the ones who announce and showcase their new titles virtually. Examples include Nintendo Directs, PlayStation’s State of Play, and Xbox’s Games Showcase.

What Killed E3?

Having the event venue be in Los Angeles is undoubtedly an inconvenience if you plan on attending before its cancellation, but that’s not what killed the show. I would argue E3 began its degradation when major companies began reducing their presence there or pulling out entirely.

Big-time companies like Sony and Nintendo are platform holders to various major publishers, making them the show’s real stars. It’s not the presenters. It’s not the famous people randomly popping up on stage. It’s these companies who are at the helm of the video game industry. E3 may only run for a few days, but hundreds of announcements would be made in that time—from AAA titles to new hardware. Each of these announcements would be vying for the public’s attention.

Why Have Winners and Losers When Everyone Could Be Winners?

E3 was more than a glorified press conference; every event would have its list of winners and losers. The international media would draw up who these winners and losers are. The winners, of course, would bask in the glory of increased sales and exposure. As for the losers, they risk sinking into irrelevancy due to the other announcements that are potentially more interesting.

IGN reported on January 2023 that Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo would be skipping the show entirely, with Microsoft and Nintendo later confirming that they would indeed not be going. When the success of a billion-dollar enterprise could be threatened by 12-year-olds deciding that a game trailer or new hardware was mid at best, that’s the time to say goodbye. And along that line, why bother going into a game press answering questions when you could send a press release? Those are the thoughts that keep these companies awake and what ultimately led them to bail on E3.

No Event Has Garnered As Much Attention As E3 Did

E3 had been open to the public and industry professionals alike in the past. In 2019, it garnered about 66,000 attendees before the pandemic shut down large-scale events. We’ve seen publishers blending a mix of live-stream marketing and in-house shows these days when it comes to sharing news and roadmaps. E3 may have experienced some rough times during recent years, but none have yet to achieve the level of E3’s notoriety.

Don’t Worry, Live Events Are Still A Thing

E3 2023 was scheduled for June 13 to 16. The event would initially mix days where it would be open to the public and only to industry-focused media outlets. Of course, all those plans are up in the air now, what with the cancellation and all. Still, June 2023 is poised to be packed with gaming-related news despite E3’s no-show.

We still have Geoff Keighley’s Sammer Game Fest, which takes place on June 8th. Moreover, there’s also the Play Days, a mini-event that focuses on games made by solo and indie developers. Let’s not forget about Microsoft’s annual Xbox showcase either, that’s scheduled for June 11, with Ubisoft’s Forward Live show set for the day after (June 12).

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