The Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, is officially cancelled. “After more than two decades of hosting E3, each one bigger than the last, it’s time to say goodbye. Thank you,” the Entertainment Software Association, E3 organizer, wrote on X.
E3’s problems have been more than evident in recent years, with the pandemic arguably just the imaginary final nail in the coffin of the once hugely popular video game expo. E3 v personal representation has not taken place since 2019. The 2021 edition was held virtually, but the ESA has completely canceled the events in 2020, 2022 and 2023.
This spring, ESA told its members that after big names pulled out of this year’s planned E3, the event was simply no sustained interest is shown needed for its implementation, which would make sense.
One of the main reasons why the fair is over for good is the fact that many publishers stopped needing E3, to show off their upcoming games. In the past, deals needed to be made with retailers to secure shelf space for their games and hardware before the holiday season, and those deals were often made at E3. In recent years, however the situation in this industry has changed significantly. While there were plenty of big games in October this year, publishers now they release big titles throughout the year and others focus on supporting long-term games. Selling games digitally also means publishers and platform holders don’t have to worry as much about partnering with retailers.
Another key reason for the demise of E3 is the fact that publishers can now their games to perform directly to the fans at any time and does not have to fight for attention with the competition at the fair. Companies like Nintendo and Sony get the attention of hundreds of thousands of fans whenever they host a Nintendo Direct or State of Play. Big publishers have so many ways to get their games out there that E3 is no longer necessary in that regard. Not attending E3 has also brought the benefit to many publishers in that they no longer have to deal with the cost of attending the trade show or meeting deadlines when they have to have demos or trailers ready.
On the other hand, it would the demise of E3 may have hurt indie studioswhich rely on showing off their games to publishers at trade shows in hopes of securing distribution and/or financing deals.
Even when E3 is over, the game action will not disappear. For example, Gamescom is much bigger than E3 in terms of attendance and other factors. Summer Game Fest, which was founded in 2020 by The Game Awards producer and presenter Geoff Keighley, can be considered a kind of replacement for E3.