Goodbye E3

What was once considered the biggest annual event in the gaming calendar is no more.

The Washington Post has received a statement from the organiser of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) confirming that the blockbuster gaming showcase has been cancelled permanently.

“We know it’s difficult to say goodbye to such a beloved event, but it’s the right thing to do given the new opportunities our industry has to reach fans and partners,” Entertainment Software Association CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis said.

E3 was held for 25 years from 1995 and was once the prime stage for publishers, game studios, and platforms to showcase their upcoming titles.

The last in-person E3 took place in 2019 and still had a sizeable attendance of 69,400, near the all-time record of 70,000 from 2005.

However, it was the first E3 since the start of the expo that Sony opted not to participate in.

In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic meant an in-person event was impossible. A lacklustre digital-only event was held in 2021.

While ESA planned to bring back E3 in 2022 and 2023, numerous major platforms and publishers indicated they would not be participating in either, leading to both being cancelled.

Although the pandemic killed E3, it was already in trouble in the years leading up to the widespread curbs on large in-person events.

In addition to Sony, the two major console platforms — Microsoft and Nintendo — had already started running their own live-streamed shows to market new titles directly to gamers.

Renowned video game journalist and presenter Geoff Keighley also launched his own online show in 2020 — the Summer Game Fest.

There has gradually been an increase in developers marketing their own games directly, without having to pay for showcasing at E3 or worrying about having material ready for the event.

There is evidently still demand for in-person events in the tech industry, as evidenced by CES 2023’s attendance of 117,000, 70% higher than in 2022.

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Goodbye E3