The 2023 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) has been cancelled.
The industry trade show, which was previously a tentpole of the calendar year for the video game industry for almost 30 years, will no longer run in 2023, after attempts to revitalise the show and have it return in physical form to the Los Angeles Convention Centre fell short.
Rebekah Valentine broke the news for IGN at the end of March 2023, where sources confirmed that a cancellation announcement had been emailed to Entertainment Software Association (ESA) members. According to the notice, E3 2023 ‘simply did not garner the sustained interest necessary to execute it in a way that would showcase the size, strength, and impact of our industry.’
The ESA released an official statement shortly after the news broke on IGN, with a statement from Kye Marsden-Kish, the Global VP of Gaming at ReedPop. It reads:
‘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. 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.’
ReedPop, known for running video game conventions such as PAX around the globe, had taken on the challenge of bringing the event back after it was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic caused by COVID-19. It returned as a digital event in 2021, but no event ran in 2022.
In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz (a publication owned by ReedPop), ESA president and CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis remarked that the company’s intent was to try and gear E3 2023 more towards consumers. The event has traditionally been a trade and media-only show, but opened its doors to the public in 2017.
The news of the cancellation follows multiple reports of major video game publishers confirming that they would not be partaking in E3 2023. These included companies like Xbox, Sony, and Nintendo (though the latter two had not exhibited at E3 for some time). Ubisoft also announced it would not attend, and IGN also confirmed that Sega and Tencent would not exhibit. EA had also not exhibited at E3 for quite some time.
On the reason for the cancellation, Pierre-Louis explained: ‘First, several companies have reported that the timeline for game development has been altered since the start of the COVID pandemic. Second, economic headwinds have caused several companies to reassess how they invest in large marketing events. And third, companies are starting to experiment with how to find the right balance between in-person events and digital marketing opportunities.’
The games industry is now in a place where publishers are increasingly opting to market their offerings on their own terms, showcasing products on their own schedule, and using the power of online video streaming to get communications out to a global audience.
No plans for a future E3 show were mentioned. The ESA will continue to perform its advocacy work for the US industry.
E3 2023 would have run from 13-16 June 2023.