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Cutting corners: What was supposed to be the triumphant return of one of the gaming industry's biggest annual events has suffered a major blow. E3 2023 will be the first event in the Los Angeles expo's 18-year history without presentations from any of the major console manufacturers.
IGN sources have confirmed that that Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo have declined to participate in the 2023 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). The big three console manufacturers won't hold press conferences or present on the show floor this year.
Microsoft will hold a presentation around the same time as E3, but the recent news makes it the last console manufacturer to cease direct participation in the expo. Sony and Nintendo had already drifted away from it over the last few years.
Nintendo has released pre-recorded presentations instead of E3 press conferences every year since 2013 but maintained show floor presence. Sony declined to participate in E3 entirely starting in 2019, having followed Nintendo's practice of producing pre-recorded showcases throughout the year. Microsoft released its first pre-recorded announcement reel last week, signaling that all three console manufacturers have found an alternative to physical press conferences.
Losing the big three – previously seen as the centerpieces of the event – won't help E3's struggle to recover from pandemic-related cancelations. 2020 saw the event canceled for the first time, while an online-only event occurred the following year. A hybrid E3 was planned for 2022, but it switched to another online-only affair before completely falling through.
Event organizer ReedPop will manage the planned hybrid E3 2023 alongside the expo's traditional manager, the Entertainment Software Association. Other big game companies haven't yet announced plans to present at E3 or hold individual events this summer.
Nintendo could still release a "Nintendo Direct" presentation in June regardless of alignment with E3. Electronic Arts hasn't yet said whether it will hold an "EA Play" this year alongside E3, a practice it started in 2016 but skipped last year. Ubisoft also hasn't said anything so far, and PC Gamer hasn't confirmed a PC Gaming Show for E3 2023.
Microsoft's exit from the event is a surprise because Xbox boss Phil Spencer recently praised E3 in an interview with IGN. He said he wants to help the expo succeed, suggesting Microsoft's summer event will complement E3, even if the company doesn't have anything on the show floor this year.
As if on cue, the Twitter account for the Summer Game Fest reminded followers of its planned date for the event, which will host presentations from many major game companies -- June 8.