- Major companies withdraw, leading to the cancellation of E3.
- ReedPop and ESA commit to collaboration, but the format of future E3 events remains unclear.
T,he Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has officially announced the cancellation of the highly anticipated E3 2023 gaming expo. Originally slated for June 13th to 16th at the Los Angeles Convention Center, the cancellation marks a significant setback for the gaming industry, with major players like Nintendo, Microsoft, Ubisoft, and Tencent all opting out of participation.
The ESA, in an email communication to its members, acknowledged E3’s historical significance as a beloved event but cited a lack of sustained attention in 2023. The absence of key industry leaders who chose not to partake in the expo led to a decision that the event couldn’t showcase the industry’s scale, strength, and influence adequately. The email did not elaborate on the potential future of the event, leaving its fate uncertain.
End of a gaming era
Since its inaugural event in 1995, the ESA has organized and hosted E3, serving as a central showcase for the video game industry for over two decades. In a statement released to the public, the ESA announced its decision to end E3 after more than twenty years, stating that it had served as the industry’s focal point for showcasing products and technologies to retailers, other industry members, and the media.
E3 faced disruptions in recent years, with the 2020 event canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, followed by an entirely online edition in 2021. The 2022 edition was also canceled, partly due to the ongoing pandemic and the increasing trend of game publishers hosting their independent online showcases, such as Sony’s “State of Play” and Nintendo’s Direct presentations.
Despite efforts to revive its former glory, other gaming events like the Video Game Awards, Summer Game Fest, and the Keighley Game Spotlight have continued to capture the attention of gamers. Even scaled-down events like CES managed to attract significant attention, with over 117,000 on-site attendees in 2023, marking a 70% increase from the previous year.
Also read: GTA VI: Ten-year R&D cycle poses challenges
In an official statement, Kyle Marsden-Kish, Global Vice President of Gaming at ReedPop, expressed the difficulty of the decision to cancel E3 2023 but emphasized the necessity of doing what is right for the industry. Acknowledging the challenges faced by interested companies, he conveyed regret for not being able to deliver the expected showcase.
This was a difficult decision because of all the effort we and our partners put toward making this event happen, but we had to do what’s right for the industry and what’s right for E3. We appreciate and understand that interested companies wouldn’t have playable demos ready and that resourcing challenges made being at E3 this summer an obstacle they couldn’t overcome. For those who did commit to E3 2023, we’re sorry we can’t put on the showcase you deserve and that you’ve come to expect from ReedPop’s event experiences.Kyle Marsden-Kish, Global Vice President of Gaming at ReedPop
Despite the cancellation, ReedPop and the ESA assured continued collaboration in future E3 events. With uncertainties arising from the cancellations of the past two years and industry partners opting for independent events, the future format of E3 remains unclear. While the demise of the grand gaming expo is undoubtedly disheartening for the gaming community, the industry’s competitive nature is showcased by an increasing number of game developers hosting their individual events, ensuring that the spirit of gaming innovation and excitement will persist.
The cancellation of the E3 gaming expo is bad news for the gaming industry and a heartbreaking development for players. However, the cancellation of the grand gaming entertainment expo does not signify a decline in the gaming sector. Instead, it reflects the intensification of industry competition, with many game companies hosting their own exhibitions.