In January, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced that it had canceled plans for the return of an in-person E3. The news came as concerns about Omicron lingered after the end of the festive season. Today, the organization confirmed reports that the 2022 version of the game show is not happening in any form.
The ESA insists another setback does not spell total disaster for the show, which is traditionally held at the Los Angeles Convention Center each June. On the contrary, he insists that a year of retooling will serve to improve the hybrid event scheduled for next year.
“We will devote all of our energy and resources to delivering a revitalized physical and digital E3 experience next summer,” the organization said in a statement. “Whether enjoyed from the show floor or on your favorite devices, the 2023 showcase will bring together community, media and industry in an all-new format and interactive experience.”
Before the pandemic, interest in the show fluctuated over the years. After shrinking significantly in 2006, the show returned to the LA Convention Center in 2009. In 2017, the traditionally trade-only event opened its doors to the public. Three years later, Sony announced it would not be invited to the show, years after EA and Nintendo took similar action – although the latter did stick to a virtual presentation to coincide with the event.
COVID-19 shut down the show completely in 2020, while the following year it held a scaled-down, online-only event.
“Our members look to ESA to deliver an experience that revitalizes the event in new and exciting ways,” adds ESA. “That’s why we’re using this time to develop plans for 2023 and working with our members to ensure the revitalized showcase sets a new standard for hybrid industry events and fan engagement.”
As companies continue to focus on their own launches and an audience warms up to virtual events, it remains to be seen what form that will take.