ReedPop has announced that this year’s Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) has been cancelled, only a few months before the intended event date in June. It’s the third total cancellation in four years.

The official statement is rather brief: “Show organizer ReedPop announces E3 2023 will not take place as scheduled this June, with both physical and digital events canceled. Alongside the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), both parties will re-evaluate the future of E3.”

E3 has struggled to remain relevant in the post-COVID era. The last official E3 was back in 2019. The 2020 show was cancelled, like many others, amidst the pandemic, returning in a digital format in 2021. The show was then fully cancelled again in 2022.

Hoping to make a comeback in 2023, the Entertainment Software Association brought in ReedPop as an organizer last year. ReedPop is best known for hosting and running the many PAX shows that occur several times a year over the last 15 or so years. But even ReedPop couldn’t make E3 happen.

This latest cancellation has sparked very real concerns over whether the once prominent gaming trade show can (or should) ever return.

Major game publishers such as Nintendo, Microsoft, Electronic Arts, and Sony have long since moved to their own event days and showcases throughout the summer. This format allows each company much more breathing room than cramming everything into a few days of E3.

E3 began in the 1990s as the premiere trade show event for gaming, growing exponentially over the next decade.

In the mid 2000s, E3 was briefly restructured into a much smaller format that eliminated the consumer public. It was a highly criticized move, and in 2009, E3 returned to its usual format with capped attendance.

In the late 2010s the show was plagued by the rise of streaming, Sony’s withdrawal, and a major data leak in 2019. Then came the pandemic in 2020.

Prominent gaming host Geoff Keighley has taken advantage of this post E3-era with his Summer Game Fest, which helps provide centralized cover of the many publisher events and shows.

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Eric has been writing for over nine years with bylines at Dicebreaker, Pixelkin, Polygon, PC Gamer, Tabletop Gaming magazine, and more covering movies, TV shows, video games, tabletop games, and tech. He reviews and live streams D&D adventures every week on his YouTube channel. He also makes a mean tuna quesadilla.