The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has now officially confirmed the cancellation of E3 2020, however, multiple reports sprung up last night from industry professionals confirming the event’s cancellation prior to the official statement. As expected, the ESA has cancelled E3 2020 due to concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
Updated 11/3/2020 at 12:50pm Eastern:
The ESA posted an official statement on the expo’s website and the official twitter confirming the show’s cancellation at about 9am Pacific. The statement reads, “After careful consultation with our member companies regarding the health and safety of everyone in our industry – our fans, our employees, our exhibitors, and our longtime E3 partners – we have made the difficult decision to cancel E3 2020.”
The organization “felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation. We are very disappointed that we are unable to hold this event for our fans and supporters. But we know it’s the right decision based on the information we have today.” Any updates on a possible Online expo will be shared on the show’s main page.
The earliest reports of the cancellation came from Ars Technica who heard from a source that “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.’”
Several other sources, including indie publisher Devolver Digital along with games journalist Mike Futter, also posted ominous warnings about the show’s cancellation last night.
Prior to the official cancellation, the show’s fate has been speculated upon since L.A. County declared a state of emergency last week. Despite numerous other conference cancellations including GDC and CES Asia, the ESA was still planning to host a successful E3 only last month. According to Bloomberg, the ESA is expected to release a statement on the cancellation at 9:30am Pacific today. Bloomberg’s source confirmed that the ESA “wrote in a private memo to partners on Tuesday that it is ‘exploring options for an online E3 event this summer.’”
An online-only E3 would follow the precedent being set by GDC which will be streaming pre-recorded versions of the many talks that were slated for the Game Developers Conference next week. While it would come with several set-backs in terms of hands-on gaming opportunities, most people get their E3 news during the pre-show press conferences which have taken place in the days leading up to the show for the last several years. Which wouldn’t change all that much about the show. We will update the story as more information is released.