E3 2020 is officially cancelled amid coronavirus fears

Options for a digital show are being explored.

The Electronic Entertainment Expo is a premier exhibition for the video game industry in the United States. The Electronic Software Association (ESA) who curates and organizes the expo has announced, unfortunately, that the event for June 2020 must be cancelled. Options for an online E3 in 2020 offering are being investigated, however, none have been revealed as of yet. The ESA will also refund all attendees and exhibitors of their entree fees, while reassuring the physical show return in 2021.

This news comes in the wake of many other trade-shows and conventions cancelling their plans. In the past few weeks, notable events have been cancelled for (to name a few) GDC, CES Asia, and Emerald City Comic-Con. Now after weeks of wondering about the state of E3, this statement brings speculation to a close.

We’ve also seen several delays from Nintendo, including that of hardware production announced early last month and that of the Nintendo Switch version of The Outer Worlds. With Japan seeing workplaces close and employees asked to work from home, it can only be speculated upon if we’ll see further delay of releases and announcements as a result.

E3 is a trade-show that’s been held annually since 1995, where the video game industry comes together to show off projects in development to press, and retailers. In recent years, the exhibition has streamed the ongoing announcements so gamers around the world can take a peek into what’s being developed, and last year even opened their doors to those not in the industry. Being affectionately dubbed by many fans as a sort of “gamer Christmas”, it’s easy to see why players have fallen in love with the show.

While E3 as a physical event may be cancelled, this does not mean companies like Nintendo already presented in a digital format in previous years, will necessarily be changing their announcement schedule. With a digital show, Nintendo could relabel it and still release it on the same day, with the only absence being the lack of demos on the show floor. This change wouldn’t affect the vast majority of fans, however, as most don’t attend the event anyway.

After this news, the community will surely be looking in the direction of other conventions and trade-shows this year to see what they’ll be doing. Due to the impact of COVID-19, we may expect to see further cancellations in the coming months.

The E3 physical event is cancelled for this year but may return later as a digital show. E3 2021 will still be taking place. Further details of that and the digital presence will be revealed at a later date.