E3 2023 cancelled, ESA confirms, as publishers pull out

E3 2023 has been canceled, organizers from the Entertainment Software Association announced Thursday, following the announced withdrawal of major publishers like Ubisoft, Sega and Tencent. These companies joined console makers Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony who previously confirmed they would not be attending this year’s E3, an event that promised to bring the bespectacled gaming industry show back to Los Angeles. for the first time in four years.

“It was a tough decision because of all the hard work we and our partners have put into making this event happen, but we had to do what’s right for the industry and what’s right for E3,” said said Kyle Marsden-Kish, global vice president of games at ReedPop, in a press release. “We appreciate and understand that interested companies would not have playable demos ready and that resource issues made being at E3 this summer a hurdle that they were unable to overcome. are engaged at E3 2023, we’re sorry we couldn’t present the showcase you deserve and expect from ReedPop’s event experiences.

ReedPop and the ESA said they “will continue to work together on future E3 events.”

IGN reported Tuesday that a handful of major publishers pulled out of the event, with others questioning their participation in the show. On Thursday, IGN reported that E3 organizers told members that E3 2023 “simply didn’t generate the sustained interest needed to execute it in a way that showcased the size, strength and impact of our industry”.

This year’s E3 was billed as a return to the LA Convention Center for the show’s first in-person event since 2019. The ESA had enlisted ReedPop, the company that produces PAX, Star Wars Celebration and other events. fan-focused, to host E3 2023. The plan was to combine a gathering of publishers, developers, media, and buyers with “in-person consumption components” and digital showcases. When announced in July 2022, ReedPop promised that “E3 2023 will be demonstrably epic – a return to form that honors what has always worked – while reshaping what hasn’t.”

A competing event, the Summer Game Fest produced by Geoff Keighley, will serve as an alternative for game publishers and developers to showcase their wares in June. Microsoft and Ubisoft will have their own digital events that month, aligned with the dates of Summer Game Fest (which runs from June 8-10) and the now-canceled E3 (which was scheduled to take place June 11-16).

The cancellation of E3 2023 – the third abandoned version of the event in recent years – is another worrying indicator of the health of the exhibition and the industry’s valuation of it. After E3 2019, the most recent version of the in-person event, E3 2020 has been canceled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, game publishers held their own digital showcases that summer, for a few months. In 2021, E3 took place as an all-digital event. The ESA attempted both an in-person and digital version of E3 2022, but both incarnations were cancelled.

Update: This story has been updated with comments from ESA and ReedPop.


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