The Electronic Entertainment Expo has officially canceled its 2023 convention in L.A.
The trade show, which is commonly referred to as E3, was once considered one of the largest and most influential in the U.S. video game industry and was first held in 1995.
It was scheduled to take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center in mid-June and would have been the first in-person E3 since 2019. The announcement came as industry giants including Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony and Ubisoft said they would not attend in any capacity. Local companies including Santa Monica-based Naughty Dog and Sherman Oaks-based Mythical Games previously presented at the convention.
Stanley Pierre-Louis is the president and chief executive officer of E3’s organizer, Entertainment Software Association. He attributed the cancellation to three things, including the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on game development for several companies.
“Second, economic headwinds have caused several companies to reassess how they invest in large marketing events,” Pierre-Louis said in a statement. “And third, companies are starting to experiment with how to find the right balance between in-person events and digital marketing opportunities.”
The convention was suspended in 2020 and held online in 2021 amid the pandemic. E3 was then fully canceled last year, with ESA saying at the time that it would “devote all (its) energy and resources to delivering a revitalized physical and digital E3 experience” in 2023.
Some of the big gaming companies that had opted out of this year’s E3, including Ubisoft, are choosing instead to host their own digital showcases. Summer Game Fest is a competing event that showcases upcoming games, and is still set to stream live from Youtube Theater in June. It was started by video game journalist Geoff Keighley in 2020 when many gaming conventions, including E3, were canceled due to the pandemic.
Prior to 2017, E3 was an industry-only event and attendees had to have a verified professional relationship with the gaming industry.
It opened to the public in 2017 and made 15,000 tickets available. Officials announced that 68,400 people attended E3 that year, up from 50,300 in 2016.
E3’s show organizer is ReedPop, an event producer. Kyle Marsden-Kish, ReedPop’s global vice president of gaming, said the decision to cancel the 2023 convention was difficult but the right thing to do for the industry and for E3.