It’s now official, this year’s E3 has been cancelled due to the Corona Virus. In its place, the big 3 will all host their own virtual conferences.
The ESA, who run the event, have issued an official statement:
“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 E3expo.com.
“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.”
Soon after the statement, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer posted news on Twitter that they would still be holding an event
“E3 has always been an important moment for Team Xbox. Given this decision, this year we’ll celebrate the next generation of gaming with the @Xbox community and all who love to play via an Xbox digital event. Details on timing and more in the coming weeks”
Sony were planning on having their own digital even for Gamescom, which is also cancelled due to the virus, and will no doubt do the same for E3 as rumours of them already missing the event were circling in January. Nintendo were also due to be at E3 but are no stranger to virtual newscasts with their regular Nintendo Direct.
Various developers and publishers have already started to announce similar plans, including Ubisoft.
With Gamescom and E3 cancelled and the likelihood of other events going the same way, it will be interesting to see how Microsoft and Sony handle the build up and release of their new consoles and how the other companies manage to ensure hype for their games and hardware continues without large physical gatherings.