The growing fear over the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus, which has recently been labeled a Pandemic by the World Health Organization) has caused many conventions and other large gatherings to cancel. The gaming industry is no different, with GDC 2020 cancelling mere weeks before its scheduled date.
Now the biggest gaming trade show of the year is the latest to get the axe. For the first time in two and a half decades, E3 has been canceled. Here’s the official statement from the Entertainment Software Association:
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, scheduled for June 9-11 in Los Angeles.
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.
Our team will be reaching out directly to exhibitors and attendees with information about providing full refunds.
We are also exploring options with our members to coordinate an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020. Updates will be shared on E3Expo.com.
We thank everyone who shared their views on re-imagining E3 this year. We look forward to bringing you E3 2021 as a re-imagined event that brings fans, media, and the industry together in a showcase that celebrates the global video game industry.
E3 is normally the main annual event for the gaming industry, with several days of game announcements, trailers, and information on upcoming releases and hardware. E3 has been on a steady decline in recent years, however, thanks in large part to the rise of streaming. Major publishers like Sony and Nintendo opt to provide their own E3-like presentations via digital streams.
That still leaves many publishers like Microsoft, Ubisoft, and Electronic Arts drift. So far Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, put out a statement on Twitter that Microsoft will host an “Xbox digital event” to “celebrate the next generation of gaming.” Both Microsoft and Sony are releasing new consoles this Holiday season.
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
Details of the Xbox event have not yet been announced.