In 2020, when everything everywhere was getting canceled because of the COVID-19 outbreak, one of the least surprising ones was E3, aka the Electronic Entertainment Expo, an annual event typically held in Los Angeles where video game companies announce whatever new video games they’re going to be selling in the near future. Coronavirus aside, the cam as E3 had been going through years of increased irrelevancy, with some of the big cancellation companies it was easier and more beneficial to just speak directly to consumers and make big announcements themselves.
E3 seemed like it would probably be dead for good when Microsoft and Sony both launched their new game consoles in 2020 without needing to rely on E3 hyping them up, but the show miraculously returned last year as a digital-only event that was entirely free and open to the public (which E3 traditionally is not). Unfortunately, by being digital-only, the whole thing basically felt like a run of separate underwhelming announcements from companies like Nintendo and Microsoft, far from the excitement and spectacle of past E3s.
Well, now E3 really is dead again. As reported by Variety, plans for another all-digital event this year have now been canceled, with initial plans for a return to an in-person having been canceled already. The Entertainment Software Association, the group that puts E3 together every year, said in a statement that the show will be returning in 2023 “with a reinvigorated showcase that celebrates new and exciting video games and industry innovations,” but that’s definitely a “we’ I’ll believe it when we see it” thing.
Taking the ESA at its word, though, it does seem like having a year off might give the organization a chance to think about what the future of E3 might look like, and if everyone is really hungry for that classic E3 experience, where every major publisher has a huge press conference event with trailers and special celebrity guests and all that, maybe the old E3 will come back.
Either way, in a move that is surely nothing but a coincidence, Game Awards creator Geoff Keighley announced today that his Summer Game Fest, a big event where he pulls in all of his gaming industry friends and high-level contacts to make big announcements, will be coming back this summer.