E3 2023 Cancelled: The End of an Era for Gaming’s Biggest Event

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has announced that E3 2023 has been cancelled, following months of announcements from some of gaming’s biggest companies, such as Xbox, Nintendo, PlayStation, and Ubisoft, stating that they would not have a presence of any kind at whatever event E3 was planning to host.[0] As per emails obtained by IGN, the ESA expressed that despite E3 being a cherished event and trademark, the current year's rendition of the convention “lacked the sustained enthusiasm needed to execute it in a manner that would demonstrate the magnitude, power, and influence of our industry.”[1] The email ends with a statement of the ESA's dedication to advocacy efforts.[2]

In 1995, the inaugural E3 event took place as a platform for game developers, publishers, and industry professionals to network and attract media coverage. Despite facing numerous problems over the course of its existence, E3 was still regarded as the most significant gathering in the rapidly growing industry, even in its inaugural year.[3] As gaming has evolved into a medium farmed for mainstream prestige adaptations, E3 has been there, hyping the medium.[3]

Debuting in Atlanta in 1995, E3 quickly established itself as the most important video game trade show in the world, attracting hundreds of game developers and publishers from around the globe to come to Los Angeles for a weekend to show off upcoming games and gaming-related hardware. Nevertheless, preceding the outbreak of covid-19, the significance of the show had dwindled as a few corporations chose to forego it or showed minimal participation.[4] In 2020, E3 was cancelled, and since then the show has struggled to survive and remain relevant.[4]

Although it was announced that E3 would return in 2023 with an in-person event following global events that prevented large in-person gatherings, the cancellation of the event comes as no surprise. The Electronic Entertainment Expo was slated to hold its first in-person event since 2019 this year.[5] The 2020 version of the event was called off because of the Covid-19 outbreak, and a solely digital event was conducted in 2021.[6] The event scheduled for 2022 was also canceled.[5] In addition, 2023 was scheduled to be the inaugural E3 coordinated in collaboration with ReedPop, the organization responsible for PAX and other popular culture gatherings.[7]

Despite the cancellation of E3 2023, partnerships with ReedPop and the ESA will continue to work together on “future E3 events”. According to the press release, ReedPop and the ESA will collaborate on upcoming E3 events. However, it is unclear if there will ever be enough interest for such a show.[8] While E3 serves in many ways a public-facing element of what ESA does, its primary focus and priority remains to advocate for the industry and the workforce that fuels a positive economic and cultural impact.[9]

Now that the final nail has been hammered into the coffin, it is certain that E3 will never be the same again. If it does somehow return in the near future, it will be far different.[10] E3's status as the premier gaming event of the year has long been diminished and this cancellation serves as a further confirmation of that fact.[10]

0. “E3 2023 Is Cancelled Leaving Its Future In Doubt” UPROXX, 30 Mar. 2023, https://uproxx.com/edge/e3-2023-cancelled/

1. “E3 2023 canceled after practically everyone dropped out” Dexerto, 30 Mar. 2023, https://www.dexerto.com/gaming/e3-2023-canceled-after-practically-everyone-dropped-out-2101392/

2. “Why Was E3 Canceled?” The Escapist, 30 Mar. 2023, https://www.escapistmagazine.com/why-was-e3-canceled/

3. “Why Was E3 Canceled? RIP E3 Gaming Expo” The Mary Sue, 31 Mar. 2023, https://www.themarysue.com/rip-e3-gaming-expo

4. “Ubisoft Is The Latest Major Publisher To Abandon E3” Kotaku, 27 Mar. 2023, https://kotaku.com/e3-2023-canceled-ubisoft-backs-out-skipping-xbox-sony-1850269997

5. “E3 2023 cancelled due to lack of “sustained interest”” Rock Paper Shotgun, 30 Mar. 2023, https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/e3-2023-cancelled-due-to-lack-of-sustained-interest

6. “E3 2023 Has Been Canceled” Kotaku, 30 Mar. 2023, https://kotaku.com/when-is-e3-canceled-electronic-expo-summer-games-fest-1850285081

7. “Ubisoft is no longer attending E3 2023 and will host its own event in June | VGC” Video Games Chronicle, 27 Mar. 2023, https://www.videogameschronicle.com/news/ubisoft-has-pulled-out-of-e3-2023/

8. “E3 2023 is Canceled” Thurrott.com, 30 Mar. 2023, https://www.thurrott.com/games/281259/e3-2023-is-canceled

9. “E3 2023 is cancelled. ESA tells us why” GamesIndustry.biz, 30 Mar. 2023, https://www.gamesindustry.biz/e3-2023-is-cancelled-esa-tells-us-why

10. “E3 2023 Canceled” Noisy Pixel, 30 Mar. 2023, https://noisypixel.net/e3-2023-canceled

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