From Where We Are

E3 gets cancelled after a nearly quarter-century run

The convention took place in Los Angeles and is being shadowed by smaller conferenes

This cancellation is the second time E3 has canceled its event since the pandemic. Last year’s event was virtual, but this year there won’t be an event at all.

E3 has taken place annually at the Los Angeles Convention Center since 1995. The event WAS an industry only event. Attendees were required to prove a professional connection to the video game industry. But in 2017, the event became open to the public and allotted 15,000 general admission passes.

A plethora of blockbuster games were announced at E3, including Metal Gear Solid 2, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and the Nintendo Wii. The event is known for being one of the industry’s biggest, showcasing new hardware, games and projects annually.

The Entertainment Software Association is planning for the event to continue in 2023. ESA said in a statement, that E3 will return with a “reinvigorated showcase” that will quote “bring the community, media and industry back in together in an all new format and interactive experience.”

However, many industry professionals feel the relevance of events like E3 is decreasing.

Former Play Station President and CEO Shawn Laydon told C-Net that trade shows are becoming less focused on trade. He says the 24/7 news cycle has lessened the need for a major annual show. There is also a rise in consumer driven shows like Gamescom as well as individual company showcases.

When E3 first started, major industry players like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo gave press conferences to share sales numbers and projections. Recently the event has changed and instead of focusing on those conferences, E3 has been full of celebrity guest appearances, performances and even orchestras.

Weston Bell-Geddes, a junior majoring in interactive media and games, discusses the relevance of E3.

Weston Bell-Geddes: “I think it’s just outdated. I mean, we have so many other expos. The Summer Games Fest is going to be instead of E3 and I’m excited because he focus a lot more on indie games and thats really where the passion is being driven. These are rising to the top because publishers are no longer necessary.”

Several of the usual attendees, including Nintendo, EA and Sony were absent from the last in-person event in 2019. Other events, such as Summer Game Fest, have stepped into the lime light in the absence of E3.

Weston bell-Geddes: As the trade show is less focused, on the actual trade and more focus on making it a show for announcements. I don’t think you’re interested in that. There’s all these different expos that people can attend based on different sort of demographics and psychographics, some of the type of video game, which I think that’s definitely the way the industry is going.”

While E3 is planning to make a comeback, the industry foreshadows the fall of what was once the the largest gaming expo of the year, to be replaced with conventions for the general public and year round online showcases from developers and publishes.

For Annenberg Media, I’m Bella Durgin-Johnson.