Ubisoft pulls out of E3 2023 to host its own show

Ubisoft is skipping the first physical E3 in four years to host their own presentation, just a month after confirming their attendance.
Ubisoft is axing its E3 2023 plans

Ubisoft has confirmed it will not attend E3 2023, instead opting to host its own live presentation in Los Angeles in June. The surprise move comes after the publisher confirmed in February 2023 that it would be taking part in the event, becoming one of the first games industry heavyweights to confirm attendance at the first physical iteration of E3 since 2019.

Ubisoft has said the backtrack is due to a decision to take a different approach this year, in a statement to VGC.  ‘E3 has fostered unforgettable moments across the industry throughout the years,’ the statement says. ‘While we initially intended to have an official E3 presence, we’ve made the subsequent decision to move in a different direction.’

The publisher also confirmed that they would host a Ubisoft Forward Live event in Los Angeles on 12 June 2023 – one day prior to the official running dates of E3 2023. The company follows other big names like Microsoft and Nintendo in skipping the event.

While no official statement has been released, reports suggest that PlayStation may also be set to pass on the event. The company was not present at E3 2019. Publishers like EA and Activision also were not present at E3 2019.

Image: ESA

E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) first debuted in 1995, and quickly became one of the biggest games industry trade shows, encapsulating the gamer hype of the 2000s and 2010s as it grew in reputation within the industry and with players alike. 

The event was host to big reveals (and several celebrity cameos, such as Keanu Reeves during the 2019 Cyberpunk 2077 presentation) attracting attendees from all over the globe during its peak. However, even pre-pandemic, the show began to see a decline in company attendance on the show floor. The show eventually opened its doors to public attendees, until the Covid-19 pandemic saw further obstacles with the complete cancellation of the 2020 show. In 2021, the show went digital.

Despite a growing number of events returning to their previous physical iterations in 2022, E3 was completely cancelled, with Geoff Keighley’s Summer Games Fest and individual publisher presentations filling the void in June.

E3’s current organiser, ReedPOP, the company behind events like PAX, has previously said they’re working to make the event ‘recognisably epic.’ 

Read: All the big video game events in 2023

In a statement to IGN, ReedPOP says that the 2023 event will be a ‘new format…that serves the needs of both the industry and its fans,’ and are committed to revitalising the struggling event that has previously been an ‘important cultural touchstone’ after months of consultation and review. ‘We continue to work tirelessly to create a show that brings together the global gaming industry.’

Just how E3 plans to regain its foothold as the most important event on the gamer and games industry calendar without the presence of major publishers like Ubisoft, Nintendo, and Sony isn’t clear. It seems like ReedPOP has its work cut out for it when the event runs from 13-16 June 2023.

Emily Spindler-Carruthers is a journalist interested in writing about diversity and accessibility in gaming, and the ways in which video games can impact communities. You can find her @Sagef0xx on Twitter.