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COVID-19 and E3 2020: ESA “monitoring and evaluating the situation daily”

Officially, E3 2020 is going ahead as planned. But after the cancellation of GDC 2020 (and other tech events) the ESA has issued a brief statement.

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COVID-19 E3 2020
The ESA / Thumbsticks

Officially, E3 2020 is going ahead as planned. But after the cancellation of GDC 2020 (and other tech events) the ESA has issued a brief statement.

“The health and safety of our attendees, exhibitors, partners, and staff is our top priority,” begins a statement on the official E3 Expo website. “While the ESA continues to plan for a safe and successful E3 show June 9-11, 2020—we are monitoring and evaluating the situation daily.”

The news comes after GDC 2020 – which was due to be hosted from the Moscone Center in San Francisco this month – has been postponed until “later this year” following a near-universal withdrawal of big names, sponsors and partners citing health concerns. This has prompted a flurry of alternative offerings and relief efforts for indie developers financially impacted by travel plans they cannot refund.

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Then today, Los Angeles County declared a state of emergency. It also published these guidelines, both for residents and visitors to follow, but also to advise on what it (and its associated departments) will be doing to combat the spread of the virus.

(Primarily, the state of emergency allows Los Angeles to qualify for additional relief funds from the government if required. But it’s also not a bad idea to take precautions given the city’s population of around 4 million, and the 88 million passengers who traveled through LAX in 2019 alone.)

What does this mean for E3 2020? At the moment, not a great deal.

“Our E3 team and partners continue to monitor COVID-19 via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO),” the statement continues. “We are actively assessing the latest information and will continue to develop measures to further reduce health risks at the show.”

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So for now, there’s no change to E3 2020. This all might have blown over by June. But by the same token, the ESA is both outlining that it is taking the situation seriously, and also, laying some ground work now in case its plans around E3 2020 do have to change, or are ultimately cancelled.


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Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.