In brief: The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) joined the list of events that will be online-only this year due to concerns about the Omicron variant of Covid-19. It is the second year in a row that organizers have opted to host the event entirely online.
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) confirmed with GamesBeat that it has shifted E3 online again and will announce more details soon. The event hasn’t been held in person since 2019. Because of the initial Covid-19 outbreak, 2020 was the first year E3 was ever canceled in the event’s 20-plus-year history. Last year, the ordinarily hands-on expo returned as an online-only affair.
However, IGN's sources say that even a digital event isn't set in stone this year and that the ESA may have given up on a physical expo as far back as last year. Usually, the ESA immediately follows the conclusion of E3 with confirmed dates for the following year's event, but it's been half a year since E3 2021, and we don't have any specific dates for 2022. The future of the event itself may be in question.
This Summer, we're excited to see you for #SummerGameFest 22, featuring another spectacular Kickoff Live! show hosted by @geoffkeighley and events from the world's leading game developers and publishers.— Summer Game Fest 2022 (@summergamefest) January 6, 2022
Sign up at https://t.co/gO9QVWnsZd for more details. pic.twitter.com/5sN6mMOh8c
The 2022 Summer Game Fest website—a similar online event meant to show off upcoming video games—went live around the same time the organizers announced E3 2022 change. Its schedule also has yet to be announced.
Another event moving online this year because of Omicron is the Sundance Film Festival, which starts on January 20. Initially, organizers planned a hybrid event. The 2022 Game Developers Conference, coming up in March, will still be in-person but requires attendees to be vaccinated. It was virtual-only last year.
The Consumer Electronics Show this week was technically an in-person event. Still, Omicron caused many prominent attendees to drop out at the last minute, including Panasonic, IBM, BMW, AMD, Microsoft, Intel, and others. The event also ended one day early.