It has been a long time coming and now E3 is officially dead. E3 was once gaming’s biggest expo where the biggest players in the industry used to showcase what they had in stock, but the last time the event was held in-person was 2019. In a statement to The Washington Post today, E3’s organizer, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) finally confirmed the expo is officially dead.
“After more than two decades of hosting an event that has served as a central showcase for the U.S. and global video game industry,” the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has decided to bring E3 to a close, Stanley Pierre-Louis, president and CEO of ESA told The Washington Post.
The signs of E3’s demise have been on the wall for a long time, but the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have accelerated that. Instead of making plans and covering the costs and logistics for attending the annual game show, publishers began to devise other means to reach their consumers directly. Nintendo first started in 2011 with its “Direct” showcases, the years later, major publishers like Sony started its State of Play, while Microsoft began the Xbox Games Showcase.
After the COVID-19 pandemic forced ESA to cancel E3 2020, video game journalist and presenter Geoff Keighley started Summer Game Fest. This online gaming event allows publishers and developers to show what they are working on.
“We know the entire industry, players and creators alike have a lot of passion for E3. We share that passion,” Pierre-Louis said. “We know it’s difficult to say goodbye to such a beloved event, but it’s the right thing to do given the new opportunities our industry has to reach fans and partners.”
In 2021, E3 returned as an all-digital event, but interest from industry publishers had already waned in the tradeshow. The show was cancelled in 2022 and was cancelled again earlier this year, signalling the end for once gaming’s biggest expo.