After several reports, some from sources speaking to the ESA, it’s finally official: E3 2020 has been cancelled. The ESA stated that the “difficult decision” was reached after “careful consultation with our member companies regarding the health and safety of everyone in our industry – our fans, our employees, our exhibitors and our longtime E3 partners.” Unsurprisingly, the cancellation is due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus which caused events like GDC 2020 and BitSummit 2020 to be postponed.
“Following increased and overwhelming concerns about the COVID-19 virus, we felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation. We are very disappointed that we are unable to hold this event for our fans and supporters. But we know it’s the right decision based on the information we have today.”
Full refunds will be offered to exhibitors and attendees of the event. However, the ESA said that it’s “exploring options with our members to coordinate an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020.” Interestingly, the organization spoke about E3 2021 being “a reimagined event that brings fans, media and the industry together in a showcase that celebrates the global video game industry.” What form that will take remains to be seen but E3 2020 as we know it is officially off.
The impact of the cancellation should be interesting considering that Nintendo is known for skipping pressers in favour of Direct presentations. Sony, meanwhile, was already confirmed to not be attending for the second year in a row.
Microsoft, Ubisoft, Square Enix and Bethesda may likely follow suit, perhaps realigning certain announcements to happen earlier or later than June 2020. Then again, they could simply join this “online experience” that the ESA is working on and leave it at that. Whatever the case may be, stay tuned for more details and updates in the meantime.