The Electronic Software Association’s annual E3 conference is canceled due to concerns over the coronavirus.
Organizers confirmed the cancellation on Wednesday morning.
“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,” ESA said in a statement provided to TheWrap.
“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 continued.
The ESA also said it is considering hosting a partial online version of the event, which would “coordinate an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news” sometime in June.
Ahead of an official announcement, game developer Devolver Digital leaked the news on Twitter.
Cancel your E3 flights and hotels, y’all.
— Devolver to Monkey Island (@devolverdigital) March 11, 2020
E3 was scheduled for June 11-13 and attracts a large multi-national audience, both in companies exhibiting and fans. Last year, over 60,000 people visited the event at the Downtown Los Angeles Convention Center, according to the ESA.
“We thank everyone who shared their views on reimagining E3 this year (and) 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,” the ESA noted.
E3 still remains a key event for companies looking to generate buzz around new products launching soon. Without the conference, gaming hardware makers could find it more difficult to get the word out about new offerings. A likely substitute is online announcements, which sacrifice the in-person interactions with the products that so many fans queue up for each year.
Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft’s Xbox team and one of the game console makers set to attend the conference, expressed his reaction to the event’s cancellation on Twitter this morning. Xbox said it will hold a digital event for its planned E3 announcements, a move that other publishers are expected to follow.
“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,” Spencer tweeted.
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
E3 is the latest conference to be canceled amid fears of the spreading virus. The City of Los Angeles declared a state of emergency March 5, and Google canceled I/O, it’s largest annual conference, on March 3. The annual Game Developers Conference, originally scheduled for March 16-18 in San Francisco, was canceled Feb. 28, shortly after it was announced a second person tested positive for coronavirus in the Bay Area.
More to come..