The biggest gaming event in the world, E3, has been cancelled due to the ongoing concerns of Coronavirus. The event was due to take place June 9th-11th, however, due to the growing global pandemic, the ESA has taken the decision for E3 2020 cancelled.
This is huge news, especially this year because Sony and Microsoft are due to release their new consoles. There had been rumours building over the past week since the cancellation of GDC, and the news was broken on Twitter.
Companies now may move to hold more online events to replace the yearly gathering in Los Angeles. In recent years Nintendo have moved their press conference to an online Nintendo Direct, however, Nintendo have always had a major show floor presence at the event. Sony had also already pulled out of the event.
Question marks are now on the future of E3 and if the event will return in its previous form in 2021. Companies such as Microsoft, Bethesda, Ubisoft, Nintendo, Sony and Devolver Digital will likely still hold online events. The ongoing COVID-19 situation forces the issue of seeing the world without an E3 event and if everything goes well will companies question the amount of money spent on show floor space at E3? Only time will tell for the future of this event.
It’s sad news on a few fronts, particularly for indie companies, freelancers and fans. Many smaller companies benefit from the industry meeting in one place, lots of deals are made just by bumping into people at the event. The gaming industry also has many smaller outlets and freelancers who are going to lose out on the opportunity to interview and provide insights into the latest games and consoles.
Hands-on impressions are important for the industry and the press as it gives us a chance to inform the public on the progress of major games and consoles. Companies now will present their products to the audience without them getting first-hand impressions. The press conferences are a source of major excitement for fans, but the show floor over the few days of the event is a chance for fans to get their hands on the games and give their honest opinion of the state of games.
E3 has been struggling over the past few years to remain relevant in the industry. A few years ago the ESA opened up the event to the public in an attempt to switch up the event, however, many in the industry feel they need to go further. For smaller developers, E3 is very expensive to take part in and opportunities to promote games is getting less and less. In 2019 the gaming world was shocked when the personal information of 2,000 journalists was accidentally published on E3’s website.
This follows on from a few weeks of turbulence for E3 as their creative team in charge of the Event, iam8bit, resigned from the creative direction of the major gaming event.
E3 is the latest casualty on big tech events related to Coronavirus. Other cancelled events include the Bafta Game Awards, WWDC (Apple’s Developer Conference), Twitch Con Europe, EGX Rezzed and Game Developers Conference which was due to be held earlier this year. GamesCom, the biggest gaming event in Europe, their plans are currently up in the air.
We’re yet to see concrete plans as to what is going to replace E3 this year. 2020 is a huge year for video games with Sony due to release their PlayStation 5 and Microsoft to release their Xbox Series X console. Companies are expected to band together and create an online event of some kind hopefully replacing the hype normally reserved for E3.
With the situation around the world changing rapidly, we’ll just have to watch this space concerning the future of E3 and other gaming events.