The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is dead, and isn’t coming back. Speaking to The Washington Post, the Entertainment Software Association has decided to end the show permanently.
“After more than two decades of hosting an event that has served as a central showcase for the US and global video game industry, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has decided to bring E3 to a close,” said Stanley Pierre-Louis, president and CEO of the ESA.
E3 was founded as a trade show, a business-to-business event where console makers, publishers and developers can meet, network and show off upcoming works. Before E3 came in 1995, video games were showcased as part of the Consumer Electronics Show, which is still ongoing today.
E3 flourished in the 2000s as players grow accustomed to the many breaking news and announcements that is held during the week the trade show is on. And the nature of it being limited access, where players would only view these events through the lenses of the invited media and press, helps prop up this mythos of a special summer event where the lucky few can see, and play, the hottest new games before anyone elese.
Unlike other more common gaming events these days like Gamescom or Tokyo Game Show, E3 remained a closed-doors event only for the people in the games industry, until 2017 when they open the doors to public.
However, since the 2010s game publishers and developers have more direct access to the players. What was press conferences designed to woo the media are now online showcases livestreamed directly to the consumers. And the ESA is aware of this.
“We know the entire industry, players and creators alike have a lot of passion for E3. We share that passion,” Pierre-Louis said to The Washington Post. “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.”
E3 was an annual event from 1995 until 2019. The Covid-19 pandemic cancelled the 2020 edition, though it did return for 2021 as an online-only event. Another online-only event in 2022 was planned but cancelled, and there were plans to bring E3 back as a live show this year but also cancelled.
And now, there are no plans to bring E3 back, ever.
However, we can still expect to see various game publishers and developers to still make announcements during summer time, now on with their own livestreams and shows, all loosely under Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest umbrella event.
The ESA will remain active as a non-profit trade association.