E3, or the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is a trade show that has been held annually since 1995 to showcase the latest and upcoming video games and hardware from major publishers and developers. It is usually held in June at the Los Angeles Convention Center and attracts thousands of attendees from the media, industry, and public.
However, E3 2023 has been officially canceled by its organizers, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and ReedPop, after several major video game publishers dropped out of the event or confirmed they would not be attending. This is the third year in a row that E3 has been canceled or significantly scaled back, following the COVID-19 pandemic that forced the cancellation of E3 2020 and the online-only version of E3 2021.
What led to the cancellation of E3 2023?
The cancellation of E3 2023 was announced on March 30, 2023, after IGN reported that a handful of major publishers had backed out of the event, including Ubisoft, Sega, and Tencent. These companies joined console manufacturers Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony who had previously confirmed they would not take part in this year’s E3, citing various reasons such as resourcing challenges, lack of playable demos, and preference for their digital events.
According to IGN, E3 organizers reportedly told members that E3 2023 “simply did not garner the sustained interest necessary to execute it in a way that would showcase the size, strength, and impact of our industry.” The ESA and ReedPop said they will “continue to work together on future E3 events,” but did not specify whether they would attempt another gathering next year.
What does this mean for the video game industry and fans?
The cancellation of E3 2023 is another blow to the relevance and viability of the expo, which has been losing its appeal and influence over the years. E3 was once considered the most important and exciting event for the video game industry and fans, where new games, consoles, and announcements were revealed and hyped up. However, with the rise of digital distribution, streaming platforms, social media, and direct communication between developers and consumers, E3 has become less essential and more costly for many publishers and developers.
Many companies have opted to host their online showcases or participate in other events such as Summer Game Fest, hosted by Geoff Keighley, which will take place on June 8 in Los Angeles. Microsoft and Ubisoft will also have their digital events in June, aligned with the dates for Summer Game Fest and the now-canceled E3. Sony has not announced any plans for a summer event yet but has been holding sporadic State of Play broadcasts throughout the year.
While some fans may be disappointed by the absence of E3 2023, they can still expect to see plenty of new games and announcements from various sources over the summer. However, it remains to be seen whether any event can replicate or surpass the excitement and spectacle that E3 once offered.