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Geoff Keighley is skipping E3 for the first time in 25 years.

Historically, where there are game announcements, there is Geoff Keighley. That will undoubtedly remain the case as Keighley continues to produce and host The Game Awards and Gamescom’s Opening Night Live. But, Keighley has, surprisingly, announced that he won’t attend the biggest event for gaming announcements in 2020.

“For the past 25 years, I have attended every Electronic Entertainment Expo. Covering, hosting, and sharing E3 has always been a highlight of my year, not to mention a defining part of my career,” Keighley wrote on Twitter.

“I’ve debated what to say about E3 2020. While I want to support the developers who will showcase their work, I also need to be open and honest with you, the fans, about precisely what to expect from me. 

“I have made the difficult decision to decline to produce E3 Coliseum. For the first time in 25 years, I will not be participating in E3. 

“I look forward to supporting the industry in other ways and at other events in the future.”

The trouble with E3, beyond Geoff Keighley

For the past three years, Keighley has hosted E3 Coliseum as a way to spotlight developers with talks, panels, interviews and, in his words, “other surprises.” (Including the unwelcome surprise of seeing Todd Howard chat with tech billionaire and union buster Elon Musk last year). 

E3 has been trending downward in recent years as the show’s organizers have struggled to keep the show relevant. In 2018, the ESA opened the convention’s show floor to the public for the first time, in a bid for the consumer audience that buoys shows like PAX and Gamescom. Last year, Sony announced that it would be skipping the show. The PS4 manufacturer has also announced its intentions to skip 2020’s show.

Trust in the ESA eroded overnight last year when the ESA accidentally doxxed 2000 members of the press. Just this morning, Eurogamer reported that an early version of this year’s E3 website had leaked online. In fact, Keighley told Gamesindustry.biz that the site leak was what prompted his decision to communicate his plans to skip the show.

“Given what has been publicly communicated about plans for E3 2020, I just don’t feel comfortable participating in the show at this time. I saw the E3 website leak this AM and said, ‘You know what, I really need to let people know what to expect from me, so no one is disappointed,'” Keighley said. “This certainly wasn’t an easy decision to make, but I think it’s the right one for me — and I wanted fans to know before tickets go on sale.”

Keighley’s decision to skip the show isn’t the death knell that more publishers dropping out would be. But, it certainly isn’t good news for a convention that desperately needs it.

Update: 21:20 GMT, February 12, 2020

We reached out to the ESA for comment and received the following statement in response to Geoff Keighley’s announcement:

“Geoff has been, and continues to be, a strong industry advocate and champion. He played a critical role in developing E3 Coliseum, a platform reintroduced three years ago that brought fans together for important conversations with industry luminaries and leaders in celebration of video games. We appreciate his contributions and hope to have future collaborations. In 2020, we look forward to presenting a reimagined E3 that will connect and delight fans worldwide.”

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