E3 Isn’t Returning Again This Year - What’s Going on With The Biggest Gaming Convention in the World?

E3 Isn’t Returning Again This Year - What’s Going on With The Biggest Gaming Convention in the World?

As one of the largest gaming conventions in the world, fans were incredibly disappointed to hear that the Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, would once again be canceled this year in 2023. But why? Taking place in Los Angeles, California, this big event is best known for attracting major game companies like Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft, amazing game developers, publishers, and industry professionals. With such a large platform, E3 has always been an influential presence in the gaming world for breaking news and announcements, so what exactly changed in the last couple of years?

1024Px-E3 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo (48044922687)Sergey Galyonkin from Raleigh, USA via Wikimedia Commons

The Pandemic Strikes

It all first started back in 2020 when the pandemic first hit. Thanks to the worldwide spread of COVID-19, E3 was forced to shut down due to health concerns. Unfortunately, it didn’t just end there. After shutting down operations for the very first time in history in 2020, E3 hasn’t had a physical event since. In 2021, they moved online to create a virtual event for fans, providing them with exciting press conferences from some of the biggest gaming companies in the world. While many participated, including Nintendo, Microsoft, Capcom, Ubisoft, and Sega, there was a noticeable dent - both Sony and Electronics Arts didn’t show. 

And this is where things started going downhill for E3; many companies started realizing they can hold their very own digital events that focus entirely on their own brand and games. Although E3 announced in 2022 that they would once again cancel the physical event due to the ongoing health concerns surrounding COVID-19, there also wasn’t any digital event. The interesting thing to note here? Even with the cancellation of E3, there hasn’t been anything preventing gaming companies from getting the word out, creating hype for their games, or dominating the market.

E3 2013 Electronic Arts (9031708542)Tarcil Tarcil via Wikimedia Commons

A Failed Return

So what exactly happened in 2023? Cited to be an exciting comeback for the convention, E3 claimed they didn’t hold any event in 2022 so they could also focus on creating the greatest event this year for fans. It seems things began falling apart early in the year when big names started pulling out of the show. As the Deadline notes in their article, “Xbox, Nintendo, Playstation, and…Ubisoft announced that [they] would not be attending E3 in any capacity, with most opting to host [their] own digital showcases.” And without anything to present, there can’t exactly be a convention.

According to IGN, many companies simply felt concerned over the status of the convention. No one knew who was attending for sure, and there was a significant lack of communication from both the ESA (The Entertainment Software Association) and ReedPop, the E3 organizer. With too much uncertainty surrounding what was supposed to be a great return for the convention, things just couldn’t come together quickly in time. 

That’s all the drama that's been going on with one of the world’s (once?) biggest gaming conventions, but what are the fans saying? These sorts of events are meant to be all about the fans; it’s supposed to be about gaming enthusiasts who come together to enjoy the biggest reveals, exciting announcements, and the newest games. 

Welcome To E3 Expo 20090602GAMEVIL Inc. via Wikimedia Commons

Fans Share Their Mixed Reviews

Reading over this , it appears most gamers share the same view: they’re going to miss the whole spectacle that comes with E3. While some claim conventions like E3 are now obsolete thanks to the rise of social media that basically screams announcements to the world for you, many are stuck reminiscing about the great memories they’ve had at such conventions. 

Nicely worded by Redditor WeissAndBeans, he states: “I'm going to miss it, honestly. Even the dumb pomp and circumstance of Ubisoft bringing in celebrities or Microsoft bringing a car onstage to announce FIFA was fun. I liked the spectacle. The current trend of directs is way more economically sensible and safe in a post-covid world, especially for people that just want to see the game trailers and get on with their day, but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t miss the whole shebang.”

With 2023 failing to revive this iconic, globally famous convention, there’s a whole lot of uncertainty in E3’s future. Will they be returning for 2024? For 2025? Or has the era of gaming conventions turned toward convenience - online digital events that allow viewers comfort and ease while getting all the latest news? Unfortunately, that’s just an answer we’re going to have to wait and see.