Gaming Trade Event E3 Cancelled

by Sage Ashford

With the coronavirus officially labeled a pandemic, we’ve seen cancellations for a number of events–everything from Austin’s South by Southwest to GDC have all been postponed for fear of making things worse than they are. But E3 represents perhaps the first major event to be canceled that isn’t at all imminent. Indeed, it took only a week for the Electronic Software Assoication to go from “actively assessing” the coronavirus to canceling the show entirely:

After careful consultation with our member companies regarding the health and safety of everyone in our industry – our fans, our employees, our exhibitors and our longtime E3 partners – we have made the difficult decision to cancel E3 2020, scheduled for June 9-11 in Los Angeles.
Following increased and overwhelming concerns about the COVID-19 virus, we felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation. We are very disappointed that we are unable to hold this event for our fans and supporters. But we know it’s the right decision based on the information we have today.
Our team will be reaching out directly to exhibitors and attendees with information about providing full refunds.
We are also exploring options with our members to coordinate an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020. Updates will be shared on
We thank everyone who shared their views on reimagining E3 this year. We look forward to bringing you E3 2021 as a reimagined event that brings fans, media and the industry together in a showcase that celebrates the global video game industry.

Though this may seem premature, it was likely the smartest decision the company could have made as the ESA has been under fire thanks to how they’ve handled situations in the past; like the mass info leak of many journalists’ private information.
The real question is what does this mean for gaming, which is not only meant to be releasing some of the biggest titles of this console generation, but also setting up for next-gen?
E3 has always been known for a handful of key conferences: EA, Microsoft, Sony, and Ubisoft. Of late we’ve seen conferences from Bethesda and Square-Enix. And, as always, the Nintendo Direct on the last Tuesday before the conference begins.
Of course, Sony bowed out from E3 already, this being the company’s second year to do so. As for Nintendo, there’s no reason they can’t do a Direct around the same time they always do one … and they’re currently rumored to have two back-to-back next week and the week of the 23rd.
Of the five remaining companies, Microsoft has already confirmed they have something else in the works, courtesy of Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer:

Ubisoft was also quick to explain they have their own digital conference happening:

Bethesda, Square-Enix, and EA are currently quiet on the subject.  The true dark horse though is Warner Bros, which was apparently going to do their first press conference this year.  Courtesy of Kotaku’s Jason Schreier:

Also likely game appearances would’ve included Cyberpunk 2077 (A WB-published title), another game from Monolith Software, and potentially the next game from NRS — presumably Injustice 3.  What happens to this conference is up in the air, though more likely than not they’ll put together a digital show to get the word out.
Perhaps this is what the ESA needed though.  At a time when E3 was looking like it would be something that would be left in the last decade thanks to multiple cancellations and key people pulling out, having the entire show canceled for a year might give the ESA the opportunity to completely reboot the show for next year, when everyone will be eager to show off their next-gen titles.

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