E3 2020 canceled due to coronavirus spread


It’s official: the biggest annual video games convention won’t be taking place this year. After several weeks of speculation and debate, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has announced that its Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) has been canceled. Originally planned to take place between the 9th and 11th of June, those plans have been put on hold due to the ongoing threat of the coronavirus spread.

“After careful consultation with our member companies,” the ESA said in its statement, “regarding the health and safety of everyone in our industry–our fans, our employees, our exhibitors and our longtime E3 partners–we have made the difficult decision to cancel E3 2020…”

Outside the Los Angeles Convention Center during E3 2018

The cancellation is coming right off the heels of GDC 2020 and South by South West (SXSW) also being put on hold. The coronavirus spread is now prompting the organizers of these events to look for alternative methods of disseminating information to the public, outside of its traditional tech gatherings, with most of them now looking to online streaming as the next viable option.

First held in 1995, E3 has over the years remained a cornerstone of the video games industry, serving as an avenue for game developers, publishers and hardware manufacturers to announce upcoming games and hardware to retailers, members of the press and fans. This year would mark the first time in its 26-year history that the show won’t be holding.

Prior to the show being canceled, Sony had already announced that it would not be having a presence on its show floor, although its decision had nothing to do with COVID-19. The PlayStation manufacturer had similarly opted not to attend last year’s show, and it has since shifted its strategy for delivering announcements to fans to using online streams in the form of its State of Play broadcasts instead. This is a format that was popularized by Nintendo through its Nintendo Directs, and the Xbox Head, Phil Spencer, has already in fact announced that Microsoft would be holding a similar event in lieu of E3.

What do you think about E3 2020 getting canceled? Do you think the ESA would be able to seamlessly transition to an online-only convention this year? Let us know in the comments section below.