Report: E3 2020 Trade Event Canceled Due to Coronavirus Concerns

  • A report by Ars Technica claims that the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) has been canceled.
  • Multiple companies have dropped out including iam8bit, the company responsible for the creative show team.
  • There has been no word on whether E3 will have a streaming presence or not going forward.

According to a report by Ars Technica, the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2020 Trade Event (E3) scheduled for June 9-11 in Los Angeles at the Los Angeles Convention Center has been canceled in order to protect patrons, exhibitors, and employees from the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Show organizer the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has not confirmed or denied the status of the event at the time of writing.

A source speaking on background told the publication that, “…they’d heard the news of E3 2020’s cancellation ‘directly from ESA members’ and that an official, public statement on the matter ‘was supposed to be today’ [Tuesday, March 10] and slipped.”

Immediately after receiving the tip, Devolver Digital, an Austin, Texas, based video game publisher, took to its official Twitter account posting, “Cancel your E3 flights and hotels, y’all.” 

While there has been no official announcement or reason given at the time of this writing, the ESA gave a statement to Vice earlier this year about its concerns in relation to participating in E3:

“Everyone is watching the situation very 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.”

However, throughout late 2019 and early 2020, multiple companies and exhibitors have pulled out of the trade show citing health concerns over coronavirus. Just last week, iam8bit, the E3 2020 showfloor creative team announced that it was dropping out. The company joins the likes of Sony and E3 host and producer Geoff Keighley who will also be absent from the event.

E3 is largely regarded as the pinnacle event in showcasing what’s new in video game and video game culture. First launched in May of 1995 and organized by the ESA, the expo has grown from 40,000 attendees to over 66,000 in 2019.

Companies such as Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and Electronic Arts (EA) have all been in attendance throughout most of E3’s history. However, recently there has been a trend of major video game companies declining to attend, opting instead to host their own event or announcements. This was the case in 2016 when EA created its own event called EA Play, with Nintendo also deciding to go direct to consumers with its Nintendo Direct reveals on YouTube.

Bloomberg reports that the ESA will make an official announcement about the status of the trade show today at 12:30 p.m. EST (9:30 a.m. PST).

The Esports Observer has reached out to the ESA for official confirmation that the event has been canceled and will update this story as further information becomes available.

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