Cancel your E3 flights and hotels, y’all.
— Devolver Digital (@devolverdigital) March 11, 2020
A news release about E3′s cancellation was allegedly slated for Monday March 10, Ars Technica reports, but it had “slipped.” Bloomberg, in turn, reported that the cancellation would be announced by the ESA on Tuesday, at 9:30 a.m., Pacific time.
The Washington Post has reached out to the ESA for comment but had not heard back as of this story’s publication.
The last update from the ESA was on March 4. At that time, a statement from the organizers said they were “monitoring and evaluating the situation daily” in consideration of coronavirus’s impact on the event. At that time, the ESA said it continued to “plan for a safe and successful E3 show.”
Despite PlayStation and The Game Awards’s famed host Geoff Keighley backing out of the event, along with Iam8bit resigning as the trade show’s creative director, E3 still had many big-name companies poised for the event. This included Nintendo, Xbox, Ubisoft, Bethesda, Capcom and more.
Coronavirus has been ravaging the games industries convention circuit, canceling events like the Game Developers Conference, delaying games like Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds on Switch and affecting the esports world, with matches canceled matches in China by the Overwatch League and Riot Games’s League of Legends pro circuit.
An E3 cancellation could point to a shaky future for the show, which has fought to stay relevant as large video game companies turn to their own channels to digitally announce titles. In 2017, E3 opened its doors to the public for the first time; in previous years, the event had been exclusive to the media and games industry. This brought a 30 percent boost to its attendance, but in a world where most gamers consume both news and game content digitally, the imperative of an expensive, massive convention remains an open question.
A year without E3 may serve as a referendum on just how vital it is to the game industry.
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