Could this be the end of E3?
E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) was an annual trade event for the video game industry that gathered 40-70 thousands gamers, game developers, industry analysts and influencers in one place. It served as a platform for developers, publishers, hardware manufacturers, and other gaming-related companies to showcase their upcoming games, products, and innovations. It was at E3 2019 that Phil Spencer and Keanu Reeves introduced Cyberpunk 2077, which might have been the last in-person announcement of this caliber at E3 ever.
E3 has traditionally been held in Los Angeles, California, although there have been occasional changes in location. According to the latest information from the LA Tourism Board, there are no plans for E3 in the near future. The chart explicit mentions that E3 2024/2025 are assumed canceled for these years.
Importantly, ESA, the body responsible for the organization of E3, has denied such claims, saying that no final decision were made about these events yet. However, what ESA says and what ends up happening are two different things at this point. The organization denied that E3 2023 was to be canceled for months before abruptly canceling the event in March this year.
From an ESA note sent to members (game publishers): “We expect E3 to continue to be a part of ESA’s storytelling and are currently in conversation with a number of stakeholders about what E3 2024 (and beyond) should look like to best serve the interactive entertainment industry.”
— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo) June 22, 2023
The E3 downfall started in 2019 with Sony pulling out of the event claiming it was too late in the year (June) and did not align with their launch plans. Furthermore, the increase in popularity of live events that can easily be streamed on the web, means that the significance of such days-long event is questionable. All leading game developers have subsequently canceled their plans to take part in E3 in 2023.
E3 during and post COVID-19 pandemic
- 2020: canceled
- 2021: virtual event
- 2022: canceled
- 2023: canceled
- 2024: canceled according to LA Tourism Board
- 2025: canceled according to LA Tourism Board
On the other hand, Summer Game Fest, led by Geoff Knightley who was the face of E3 for many years, has seen a massive interest from the gaming community. This format does not involve a long in-person convention with separate events, but rather combines them into one.