The Electronic Entertainment Expo 2023, known to most video game enthusiasts as E3 2023, has been canceled. While this isn’t the first time that the largest gaming convention in the world has been called-off, the unsettling motive behind this latest cancellation is causing many to question E3‘s future. This article will explain why previous E3 were canceled and explore why E3 2023’s cancellation could be the beginning of the end for E3.
Why Were Past E3s Cancelled?
E3 2019, in which high-profile games like Elden Ring and the initial release of Cyberpunk 2077 were announced, was the last proper E3 event to go off without a hitch. In the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic, E3 2020 was canceled, marking the first time the event had ever been called-off. With E3 2020 off the table, many triple-a publishers like Microsoft and Sony held alternative events online.
While E3’s sponsors, ReedPop and Entertainment Software Association, initially announced that they’d host E3 2021 as an in-person event, ongoing concerns regarding COVID-19 forced the organization to re-strategize. Instead, E3 2021 became an online event, rebranded as the Electronic Entertainment Experience. Despite some preferring this online-only approach, the ESA stated that E3 2022 would return to the in-person event format.
However, less than a month into 2022, ReedPop and the ESA announced that E3 2022 would not be held as an in-person event. In March, it was revealed that the event had been canceled outright. Soon after the initial announcement, ReedPop and the ESA released an official statement claiming they wished to focus on “delivering a revitalized physical and digital E3 experience next summer.”
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What E3 2023’s Cancellation Means For The Future of E3
In the months leading up to E3 2023’s scheduled dates of June 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th, many prominent video game publishers announced their plans to “skip” the event. Within January alone, Ubisoft, Sega, Tenecnet, Nintendo, Xbox, and Microsoft announced that they would not attend E3 2023. This apparent lack of interest was one of the main motives behind ReedPop and the ESa’s decision to cancel E3 2023, according to an official statement from ReedPop’s Vice President of Gaming, Kyle Marsden-Kish:
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. 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.Kyle Marsden-Kish
Although the cancellation of E3 has come as a bitter shock to long-time attendees, many of the same enthusiasts have voiced their concerns over the event’s reluctance to innovate. Many video game publishers have developed exclusive streaming-based press events over the last decade, depriving E3 of the niche exclusivity it once enjoyed. With nothing to distinguish itself from the many gaming press events dominating the internet, interest in E3 had been noticeably dipping for quite some time.
While there hasn’t been any official news regarding future E3s, the long-term survival of what was once considered the star-maker of the gaming industry is uncertain. With publishers unlikely to resume their support and its sponsors left with no clear idea of how to move forward, 2023 could go down in history as the year E3 died.
- This article was updated on April 8th, 2023