The revival is off
After several reports and confirmations of companies backing out of the show, the Entertainment Software Association (or ESA) has confirmed that E3 2023 is officially canceled.
The news first broke via a report from IGN, where two sources confirmed that the organization has announced E3’s cancellation through an email sent out to members today. The email says that while E3 is a “beloved event and brand,” the 2023 version “did not garner the sustained interest necessary to execute it in a way that would showcase the size, strength, and impact of our industry.”
In an official press release, the ESA and show organizer ReedPop confirmed the cancellation of both the physical and digital portions of E3. Both were scheduled for June.
“This was a difficult decision because of all the effort we and our partners put toward making this event happen, but we had to do what’s right for the industry and what’s right for E3,” said Kyle Marsden-Kish, Global VP of Gaming at ReedPop. “We appreciate and understand that interested companies wouldn’t have playable demos ready and that resourcing challenges made being at E3 this summer an obstacle they couldn’t overcome. For those who did commit to E3 2023, we’re sorry we can’t put on the showcase you deserve and that you’ve come to expect from ReedPop’s event experiences.”
The ESA and ReedPop will continue to work together on future E3 events. “Many” of the digital showcases scheduled around E3’s dates will still go forward.
The ESA reaffirmed last year that it would return to an in-person event with E3 2023, after cancellations and online-only events marked its last few years. It even partnered with PAX organizer ReedPop to make this year’s show happen, pitching a concept that would include both industry and consumer days similar to Gamescom.
Despite those efforts, it looks like publishers did not want to sign on. The Big Three of Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft were all set to skip the show, though the latter will still hold its own showcase this summer. Ubisoft backed out of its plans, opting for its own Forward showcase as well. And Sega, Tencent, and Devolver soon followed suit. Yes, even the Devolver parking lot would have been absent. It’s really not E3 without that.
That said, the summer’s not called off just yet. The Summer Game Fest is still on, and as mentioned, there are several publishers planning to host showcases this June. Really, it seems like it will just be another summer without E3. At this point, the question is whether an E3 revival can actually happen.