Gaming fans attend the 24th Electronic Expo, or E3 2018 in Los Angeles, California on June 13, 2018, … [+]
AFP via Getty Images
Topline: The Electronic Entertainment Expo, the world’s biggest gaming convention, has been canceled due to the coronavirus, following a wake of esports events and conferences to be affected by the outbreak.
- The convention, set for June 9th to June 11th in Los Angeles, is typically the event where the industry’s top publishers preview their tentpole releases, and especially this year, new consoles.
- Late last night, Ars Technica reported that the cancellation would be imminent, with popular indie publisher adding on Twitter: “Cancel your E3 flights and hotels, y’all.”
- The Entertainment Software Association, the show’s organizers, said in a statement today, “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.”
- The organization added it was exploring options to instead schedule an online showcase in June.
- E3 is the latest and biggest gaming conference to be affected by the virus so far, with esports events like the Overwatch League’s China and South Korea home games canceled and the Game Developers Conference in March “postponed” to the summer, though, it’s effectively canceled.
Key Background: While the participating publishers will likely hold online streams for fans, something Nintendo has embraced the past few years, this is a devastating blow to the overall convention, which has been struggling to stay relevant as more and more gaming events have propped up. Sony decided early in the year not to participate, despite releasing a new console at the end of the year. It also lost its longtime host Geoff Keighley last month, saying at the time “Given what has been communicated about E3 so far, I just don’t feel comfortable participating this year.” E3 opened the conference up to the public in 2017 and was planning to continue reinventing itself a bit this year. This is the first time since 1995 that the conference won’t take place.
Big Number: 66,100. That’s how many attended last year’s E3, down about 3,000 people from 2018.