The E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) gaming show, once a huge event in the gaming calendar, has been cancelled entirely, organisers Entertainment Software Association (ESA) have confirmed. A statement read: “After more than two decades of serving as a central showcase for the video game industry, ESA has decided to end E3. ESA remains focused on advocating for ESA member companies and the industry workforce who fuel positive cultural and economic impact every day.”
The 2023 expo had already been called off before the most recent confirmation of E3’s final end game. The show was last held virtually in 2021 and in-person back in 2019.
The show’s passing was mourned by gamers, including Reed Trimble, who wrote on LinkedIn: “Growing up I always loved watching E3, my eyes growing wide at the amazing showcases and game trailers. As part of the industry, it was always my favorite of the event circuit (especially hanging out in lobby of the JW Marriott). Sad day for the gaming industry.”
ESA president and CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis said in a statement: “ESA’s focus and priority remain advocating for ESA member companies and the industry workforce who fuel positive cultural and economic impact every day.”
He told the Washington Post: “There were fans who were invited to attend in the later years, but it really was about a marketing and business model for the industry and being able to provide the world with information about new products… Companies now have access to consumers and to business relations through a variety of means, including their own individual showcases.”
E3 started its trade show life in Los Angeles in 1995, just after the launch of the PlayStation and went on to unveil on its show floor the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and a prototype of the Nintendo Wii back in its noughties heyday when up to 70,000 visitors would attend.
The big players gradually began launching their new games at their own events which made E3 less relevant.
Whether there will be a replacement for E3 for game announcements in June is unknown, but the likes of Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony will probably hold their own separate digital showcases during that period. There’s also the Summer Games Fest, a major digital showcase of upcoming games slated for sometime in June 2024.