E3 2020 Has Officially Been Cancelled Over Coronavirus Fears
It’s official, E3 2020 has now been cancelled due to the coronavirus, as a statement comes in from ESA themselves on the E3 expo website. Following the cancellation of GDC and several other gaming events due to the coronavirus outbreak, E3 was under pressure to clarify its position. Following rumours all day, an official announcement confirming these rumours has been released by the Electronic Software Association.
In a statement, the ESA said:
“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.”
“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.”
Full refunds will be provided to all exhibitors and attendees at least and, as guessed, they will be looking to coordinate an online version of the convention where members will still be able to make their big video game announcements and reveals during their originally scheduled time.
The decision isn’t surprising. Countless video game and technology-related events, including Mobile World Congress (MWC), the Game Developers Conference (GDC), Google I/O, Facebook’s F8 conference, SXSW and the Geneva Motor Show, have all been abandoned in the last few weeks.
If the online experience doesn’t happen, these companies have a few options. They could, for instance, press ahead and switch to alternative venues inside Los Angeles. A number of other companies, including EA and Devolver, have used offsite locations to unofficially extend E3’s footprint. The more likely scenario, though, is that each company creates and hosts their own Nintendo Direct-style stream. Xbox chief Phil Spencer has already confirmed on Twitter that his team will be creating a “digital event” instead. “Details on timing and more in the coming weeks,” he said.
E3 has always been an important moment for Team Xbox. Given this decision, this year we'll celebrate the next generation of gaming with the @Xbox community and all who love to play via an Xbox digital event. Details on timing and more in the coming weeks https://t.co/xckMKBPf9h
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) March 11, 2020
Alternatively, companies could shift their announcements to Gamescom, Tokyo Game Show, or hold their own physical event later in the year. The ESA’s decision could be a blessing in disguise, too. Last September, a leaked pitch deck suggested that E3 would have turned into a “fan, media and influencer festival” this year. The shakeup would have included a focus on “high-flow game pavilions” and on-floor “activations,” according to the deck, which probably meant statues and celebrities that fans might photograph and share on social media.
It’s unclear at this moment how this will affect announcements at the convention; whether E3 2020 will go completely digital and streamed online, or if companies will organise their own schedules for announcements. We discussed yesterday already how certain companies might approach this cancellation in terms of their announcements of new games, like Warner Bros’ new Batman and Harry Potter games.
E3 has been running every year since 1995, and 2020 will make the first time it has ever been cancelled.