E3, the gaming expo that first revealed Xbox and PlayStation, is officially over. The organisers have announced the permanent cancellation of the gaming show that gave us some of the most iconic moments in gaming history. Here are the reasons behind this decision and the reactions from the gaming industry and fans.
E3, which stands for Electronic Entertainment Expo, was launched in 1995 as a trade show for the video game industry. It was a place where publishers, developers, media, and retailers could meet and showcase their upcoming games and products. E3 also attracted millions of fans who watched the live streams and coverage of the event online.
However, in recent years, E3 faced several challenges that eroded its relevance and appeal. Some of the major factors that contributed to its demise were:
- The rise of digital distribution and streaming platforms, which reduced the need for physical retail and media presence.
- The emergence of other gaming events and showcases, such as Gamescom, PAX, The Game Awards, and Nintendo Direct, which offered more flexibility and diversity for the gaming industry and fans.
- The departure of big publishers and developers, such as Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, EA, Activision, and Bethesda, who opted to host their own events or skip E3 altogether.
- The COVID-19 pandemic, which forced E3 to cancel its 2020 and 2022 editions and switch to a virtual format in 2021, which received mixed reviews and low viewership.
- The security breach in 2019, which accidentally leaked the personal information of thousands of attendees, including journalists, influencers, and celebrities.
- The high costs and logistical challenges of hosting a large-scale event in Los Angeles, which deterred many exhibitors and attendees.
E3 Tried to Revive Itself with a New Partner and Format
Despite the difficulties, E3 tried to revive itself with a new partner and format for 2023. The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the organisation responsible for E3, partnered with ReedPop, the company that organises PAX, NYCC, and Star Wars Celebration, to run E3 2023.
The plan was to return to the Los Angeles Convention Center for an in-person event, but with separate areas and days for industry and consumer events. E3 Business Days, scheduled for June 13-15, would be limited to registered industry members for networking, meetings, and hands-on sessions. E3 Gamer Days, scheduled for June 15-16, would be open to the public for playing games and connecting with developers, content creators, and media personalities.
In addition, there would be partnered digital events and showcases before E3 2023 officially began, starting from June 11. These would include standalone presentations from major publishers and developers, such as Microsoft, Ubisoft, Nintendo, and Sony.
E3 Faced More Trouble and Resistance from the Industry and Fans
However, E3’s attempt to reinvent itself faced more trouble and resistance from the industry and fans. Some of the issues that plagued E3 2023 were:
- The lack of interest and support from the big players in the gaming industry, who preferred to stick to their own events or join other platforms, such as Summer Game Fest, Steam Next Fest, and PlayStation Experience.
- The dissatisfaction and confusion among the media and fans, who felt that E3 had lost its identity and charm, and that the new format was too complicated and restrictive.
- The uncertainty and risk of holding a large-scale event amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which posed health and safety concerns for the attendees and exhibitors.
- The competition and pressure from other gaming events and showcases, which offered more variety and quality of games and announcements.
E3 Announced Its Permanent Cancellation and Thanked the Gaming Community
On December 15, 2023, E3 announced its permanent cancellation and thanked the gaming community for their support and participation over the years. Louis, CEO of ESA, said, “We know it’s difficult to say goodbye to such a beloved event, but it’s the right thing to do given the new opportunities our industry has to reach fans and partners.”
ReedPop, the new organiser of E3, also expressed its gratitude and regret for the cancellation. Kyle Marsden-Kish, ReedPop’s VP of gaming, said, “We’re saddened by the end of E3, but we’re proud of what we tried to achieve with our vision. We hope to continue serving the global gaming industry in new and broader ways through our portfolio of world-leading events and websites.”
The gaming industry and fans reacted with mixed emotions to the news of E3’s cancellation. Some expressed their nostalgia and appreciation for the event, while others criticised its failure and irrelevance. Many also wondered what the future of gaming events and showcases would look like without E3.