After a round of speculation and rumours, the ESA has officially cancelled the Electronics Entertainment Expo or E3 2020 event. In a statement, the ESA has cited "growing concerns over [the] COVID-19 virus" as the primary reason behind the decision. Though the association has added that they are "exploring options with our members to coordinate an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020," nothing concrete has come up yet.
The ESA has explained that they came out with the decision after a prolonged conversation with its member companies, and put the health concerns of its employees, exhibitors, fans and E3 partners over the gaming event. The E3 gaming event was scheduled to happen in Los Angeles from June 9 to June 11.
"Following increased and overwhelming concerns about the COVID-19 virus, we 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. Our team will be reaching out directly to exhibitors and attendees with information about providing full refunds," the ESA statement reads.
Interestingly, Phil Spencer, head of Xbox gaming, Microsoft, posted a message on Twitter shortly after the announcement. Phil asserted that though the ESA has been cancelled, Xbox won't disappoint its fans, and they would come up with an Xbox digital event. "E3 has always been an important moment for Team Xbox. Given this decision, this year we'll celebrate the next generation of gaming with the @Xbox community and all who love to play via an Xbox digital event," noted Phil. He promised to come back with more details about the timing of the all-digital Xbox event in the coming weeks.
Sony declined earlier
E3 is an industry-wide festival that brings together developers, publishers and the press for games, indie gaming, live concerts, conferences, press kits, high-tech interactive adventures, demos, and so on. Though the annual gaming event is considered one of the biggest conferences in the gaming industry, it has lost its charm since a few years.
Playstation maker Sony announced skipping the E3 2020 event in January and is secretly gearing up to launch its next-generation gaming console PlayStation 5 via an exclusive event. Microsoft is also expected to come up with its Xbox upgrade which was supposed to be unveiled in the E3 2020 gaming trade show.
Alongside E3, a plethora of tech shows has been called off for this year. The list includes popular show Mobile World Congress which was slated to happen in Barcelona during February 2020.
The COVID-19 outbreak might change the entire gaming industry, and there is a probability that all gaming companies might change their release strategy and prefer online streaming instead of a physical release.