The Entertainment Software Association has announced that they will be cancelling E3 2022 – both physical and digital shows – in order to focus on a “revitalized” event next year.
The cancellation had previously been rumored by Razor PR Lead Will Powers on March 31st.
“Just got an email… It’s official, E3 digital is official cancelled for 2022,” Powers tweeted. “Lots of mixed feelings about this…”
Taking notice of his tweet, Xbox Software Engineer Brenna Duffitt inquired, “Wait so is it *cancelled* cancelled or only in person?”
“Official ESA E3 is officially cancelled cancelled,” Powers replied, suggesting that even a digital event was off the cards.
That same day, IGN reported that they had verified the contents of the cancellation email sent to ESA partners, confirming that the organization had made it clear that there would be no physical or digital E3 events in 2022.
Sources told IGN that while there had been discussions of a digital event ever since the physical show was previously cancelled in January due to COVID-19, it had failed to build up any strong momentum behind it.
As such, said the source, the ESA was reportedly planning a bigger comeback for the show in 2023.
The ESA later released an official statement clarifying, “E3 will return in 2023 with a reinvigorated showcase that celebrates new and exciting video games and industry innovations.”
“We previously announced that E3 would not be held in person in 2022 due to the ongoing health risks surrounding COVID-19. Today, we announce that there will also be no digital E3 showcase in 2022,” the ESA revealed. “Instead, we will devote all our energy and resources to delivering a revitalized physical and digital E3 experience next summer.”
“Whether enjoyed from the show floor or your favorite devices, the 2023 showcase will bring the community, media, and industry back together in an all-new format and interactive experience.” the ESA concluded.
This is the third time an E3 event has been cancelled in some form.
E3 2020 promised to be a “new and revitalized experience,” even partnering with creative production company iam8bit to promote the show.
A leaked document explained how E3 2020 even planned to “lean into” influencer and celebrity deals and capitalize on how millennials and generation Z are the generation most focused on “giving back” and “social good”.
However, iam8bit announced only three months later that they were pulling out of that year’s show.
They were soon joined by Geoff Keighley, who reasoned “A ton of factors, I just don’t really feel comfortable participating given what I know about the show as of today,” and Sony, who informed players that they would be skipping E3 for the second year in a row.
E3 2020 was eventually cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its resuling lockdown orders.
While a digital event was initially planned as an alternative, even that was eventually halted for the safety of all involved – technically meaning E3 2020 was cancelled twice. As such, many gaming companies held their own promotional livestreams instead.
In 2021, E3 returned, though once again as a purely digital event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Though no physical industry tradeshow was held, gaming companies once again held livestreams to showcase their upcoming works.
It’s possible that COVID could still be a factor in the ESA’s plans, as though California ended it’s entry requirements to “mega-events” as of April 1st – along with other parts of the world lifting their own lockdown and vaccination restrictions – California has nonetheless had the highest number of COVID-19 deaths both overall and within the last week as of March 31st.
Another factor in this year’s cancellation could be the general dissiatisfaction with the event – and more specifically its leadership – among past attendees.
Ahead of E3 2019, organizers leaked the personal details of various journalists and producers who had registered for the show, while E3 2021’s online portal – acting as an equivalent to in-face networking – was condemned as non-functional and confusing.
With companies diving in head first into producing Nintendo Direct-style livestreams and events like Keighley’s Summer Game Fest being put on for smaller developers and publishers, the burning question is whether or not the consumer needs an event like E3 when companies can deliver their news to players directly.
What do you think? Let us know on social media and in the comments below.