The ESA has cancelled E3 2020 following growing concerns around the spread Coronavirus COVID-19.
COVID-19 + concerns = another event cancellation. This time it’s E3 2020.
Following a day of rumours, speculation, and whacky reporting, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has confirmed the cancellation of this year’s E3 expo. The event itself was due to be held in Los Angeles from June 9-11, with a series press conferences traditionally held in the days before its doors open.
In a statement, the ESA says:
“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.”
The ESA will contact all exhibitors and attendees with information on obtaining full refunds. It’s also hoped that publishers due to exhibit at the event will coordinate to present an online showcase of press conferences in June.
The cancellation of E3 2020 is the latest in a series of events affected by the spread of COVID-19. The Game Developers Conference was the first high-profile casualty. It will instead live-stream a range of talks and panels next week, as will Microsoft. Other game-related events to be called off include Japan’s BitSummit, SXSW, Emerald City Comic Con, and Game Connection 2020.
E3 2020 already appeared to be in some trouble with its new influencer-focussed format raising eyebrows and turning stomachs. The departures of high-profile content producers Geoff Keighley and iam8bit were also worrying signs.
The ESA concludes its statement by saying that E3 will be back in 2021:
“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.”
Update: March 11, 16:40 GMT
Both Microsoft and Ubisoft have announced plans for digital events in the absence of E3 2020. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer says more details will be revealed next week. Ubisoft has also tweeted, saying the company is ‘exploring options for a digital experience.’
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 https://t.co/xckMKBPf9h
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) March 11, 2020
Update: March 12, 19:30 GMT
The official E3 Twitter account has just posted to say that its team members will be in contact with attendees to process refunds on passes.
Update about refunds for badges purchased for E3 2020. Please continue to visit https://t.co/QOa74rE263 for further updates, or reach out to [email protected] with questions. pic.twitter.com/iEfNee2LXP
— E3 (@E3) March 12, 2020
“E3 team members are contacting registered attendees to process full refunds in the next few days,” the statement reads. “Thank you for your support and understanding. If you have any questions, please email [email protected]”