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We predicted last week that E3 could be canceled following Los Angeles’ decision to declare a state of emergency due to the spread of the coronavirus. Having previously said it was “moving full speed ahead,” organizer the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) changed its stance to “monitoring and evaluating the situation daily.”
The first indication that E3 wouldn’t take place this June came via a tweet from publisher Devolver Digital that read: "Cancel your E3 flights and hotels, y'all." Since then, multiple sources have told Ars Technica that the ESA will cancel the event, while Bloomberg writes that the organizer will make it official with an announcement at 9.30 am Los Angeles time today.
Cancel your E3 flights and hotels, y’all.— Devolver Digital (@devolverdigital) March 11, 2020
While we don’t know if the event will be postponed or canceled outright this year, the ESA is reportedly considering an online E3 event to take place during the summer.
The coronavirus has caused the cancelation of MWC, GDC, SXSW, Facebook’s F8 conference, music festival Coachella, and many more events. But E3 was already facing other problems, including Sony missing another year, collaborator Geoff Keighley dropping out, and merchandise/events company iam8bit resigning from its creative director position after just five weeks.
One of the companies that will be scrambling to adjust its plans in the wake of E3’s cancelation is Microsoft, which was preparing a large press conference to reveal more of the Xbox Series X.
Update: E3 has now been officially canceled due to growing concerns over the COVID-19 virus. A statement on the expo’s website read:
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 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 reimagining E3 this year. 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.