In context: Earlier today, we learned that the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) will be canceling E3 as we know it this year. This was saddening news for many gamers who rely on the convention to get updates on the latest titles, but the ESA's reasoning was solid. With the coronavirus outbreak now classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, trade events like E3 simply aren't safe enough for visitors and event staff.
Unfortunately, E3's cancelation caused some collateral damage. For the companies that still attend the event regularly (in other words, not Nintendo, Sony, or EA), the news has probably come as a bit of a shock. Those corporations, big and small, must now find alternate ways to get their game and product reveals in front of consumers.
The good news is, at least a couple bigger names in this industry already have a few ideas in mind. Xbox chief Phil Spencer said on Twitter that while E3 has always been an "important moment" for Team Xbox, he and his staff are ready to adapt following the ESA's decision. This year, Microsoft will "celebrate the next generation of gaming" by hosting an Xbox digital event.
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
Exactly what will be revealed at the event is unknown, but we can make a few educated guesses. We'd expect to see a full reveal for the Xbox Series X (and perhaps an explanation for the "Series" naming scheme), gameplay for Ninja Theory's next-gen Hellblade game, and perhaps a few other Series X game teases that show off the console's full potential.
Another company that used the ESA's news as a springboard for its own announcement is Ubisoft. Like Microsoft, Ubisoft is also considering the possibility of hosting a digital event in lieu of an E3 press conference, though its plans are a bit more vague.
An update regarding E3 2020. pic.twitter.com/cThkDIkfVm— Ubisoft (@Ubisoft) March 11, 2020
"The health and well-being of teams, players, and partners is our top priority, so while we're disappointed, we fully support the ESA's decision to cancel E3 2020." Ubisoft said in a tweet. "We're exploring other options for a digital experience that will allow us to share all the exciting news we have planned, stay tuned for more!"
We'll keep you posted if any other sizable game companies come forward with similar bittersweet news. In particular, we're curious to see how CD Projekt Red will handle the situation -- E3 2020 would have been a great opportunity to generate some additional pre-release hype for Cyberpunk 2077, but now the developer will need to take matters into its own hands.