The planned big return of E3 in 2023 has been cancelled, as the ESA says it has been forced to pull the plug due to a lack of interest.
E3 used to be the videogame industry's premiere showcase event, but it was brought low in 2020 by the Covid-19 pandemic. That led major publishers to hold their own online events instead, and that actually worked out pretty well, leading to serious questions about E3's relevance in the streaming era.
Those questions grew even louder as major publishers opted out of this year's event. Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo all declared in January that they wouldn't be taking part, while Ubisoft, which had previously committed, pulled out earlier this week.
E3 2023 was being organized by ReedPop, which runs PAX, New York Comic Con, and other conventions. Just last month, ReedPop president Lance Fensterman said that E3 2023 was "full speed ahead." Not anymore.
The ESA confirmed the cancellation of E3 2023, which was first reported by IGN, in an email sent to PC Gamer saying that both the on-site show and the digital event have been dropped.
"This was a difficult decision because of all the effort we and our partners put toward making this event happen, but we had to do what’s right for the industry and what’s right for E3," said Kyle Marsden-Kish, ReedPop's global VP of gaming. "We appreciate and understand that interested companies wouldn’t have playable demos ready and that resourcing challenges made being at E3 this summer an obstacle they couldn’t overcome.
"For those who did commit to E3 2023, we're sorry we can’t put on the showcase you deserve and that you've come to expect from ReedPop’s event experiences."
Organizers aren't walking away from the possibility of bringing back E3 in some form, though: ReedPop and the ESA said they will "continue to work together on future E3 events."
The cancellation of the planned 2023 event leaves Geoff Keighley's Summer Game Fest, which is set to take place on June 8, unchallenged as the dominant game show of the season. Keighley paid tribute to E3's long history on Twitter, but also said that the show "wasn't evolving as it needed to compete in a global, digital world." His event, he says, is "what's next."
Here's 15-year old me at the first-ever E3 in 1995.E3 meant so much to me and to so many of you too. Four years ago, I realized that E3 wasn't evolving as it needed to compete in a global, digital world. So we started building what’s next. See at @summergamefest June 8. pic.twitter.com/wSZqpz3wjYMarch 30, 2023
The Summer Game Fest isn't the only show in town, though: Our own PC Gaming Show, and sister event Future Games Show, are also set to take place in mid June. Dates and other details will be announced soon.