After weeks of speculation after the cancelation and participation of events such as PAX East and GDC due to fears and concerns surrounding the Coronavirus, many were wondering what if anything would happen to E3 2020. PlayStation announced that they wouldn’t be at PAX East and GDC. CD Projekt Red and PUBG Corp also announced that they wouldn’t be at PAX East and EA, Microsoft, Unity and more announced that they wouldn’t be at GDC. Recently, the organizers of E3, the ESA said that they would be moving forward with the event “full speed ahead” but things seemed to have changed as multiple sources have confirmed with Ars Technica that E3 2020 is canceled. Publisher Devolver Digital also “confirmed” the news with a message on Twitter:
Cancel your E3 flights and hotels, y’all.
— Devolver Digital (@devolverdigital) March 11, 2020
One source told Ars Technica that an official statement and announcement was supposed to be coming today but it has since slipped. There have been numerous people who cover the video game industry to expect it tomorrow. This news comes after the ESA said, “everyone is watching the situation closely. We will continue to be vigilant, as our first priority is the health, wellness, and safety of all of our exhibitors and attendees. Given what we know at this time, we are moving ahead full speed with E3 2020 planning. Exhibit and registration sales are on track for an exciting show in June.” Since then, there has been news stating that more people are getting infected week after week.
E3 2020 was always going to be a little different from past years as there was a plan to rely on paid celebrity deals and influencers. Their plan to change the event from days past led to Sony and Geoff Keighley announce that they would not be attending the event. For PlayStation, that makes it two years in a row. All eyes were going to be on E3 this year especially, with the next-generation of gaming coming later this year. Despite the change, many publishers planned on attending the event but it seems that they’ll have to make new plans.
E3 2020 being canceled leads one to wonder what will be the future of the event if there is any at all as there has been a decline over the past two years of attendance and media coverage.
UPDATE: March 11, 2020
The ESA has released an official statement regarding the cancelation of E3 2020. The statement in full says:
After careful consultation with our member companies regarding the health and safety of everyone in our industry – our fans, our employees, our exhibitors and our longtime E3 partners – we have made the difficult decision to cancel E3 2020, scheduled for June 9-11 in Los Angeles.
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. We are very disappointed that we are unable to hold this event for our fans and supporters. But we know it’s the right decision based on the information we have today.
Our team will be reaching out directly to exhibitors and attendees with information about providing full refunds.
We are also exploring options with our members to coordinate an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020. Updates will be shared on E3expo.com.
We thank everyone who shared their views on reimagining E3 this year. We look forward to bringing you E3 2021 as a reimagined event that brings fans, media and the industry together in a showcase that celebrates the global video game industry.