E3 2020 officially canceled over coronavirus concerns [UPDATE]

The biggest gaming event of the year is no more, as the ESA has reportedly canceled E3 2020 due to concerns over COVID-19 coronavirus.


UPDATE (3/11/2020 - 8:56AM PT): It's official. The ESA has issued a statement regarding E3 and it would appear the rumors were true. E3 2020 is canceled as of a decision by the organizers today. 

"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, scheduled for June 9-11 in Los Angeles," the ESA announced in their statement, originally reported on Gamespot.

"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."

With E3 2020 officially and formally shutdown, it's a bitter moment, but one in which the ESA intends to use to fully improve and prep for E3 2021.
With E3 2020 officially and formally shutdown, it's a bitter moment, but one in which the ESA intends to use to fully improve and prep for E3 2021.

That is to say that E3 2020 has officially gone the way of GDC 2020, SXSW 2020 and many, many other events that regretably were also forced to shut down or postpone ahead of ESA's major decision. It's both a shock due to the longstanding tradition of E3 and not, given the inhospital and cautious climate worldwide surrounding the containment of the coronavirus.

Even so, the ESA declared that it intends to aid in the facilitation of refunds for both the exhibitors and attendees that were set and confirmed to be at the show. Reportedly the ESA will be in touch to discuss the matter. Finally, the ESA closed in saying that it will take the time to seemingly reinvent E3 2021. With a year to prepare, the ESA reportedly intends to "reimagine" the show in an effort to revitalize the spirit of its content and showfloor and make it a better offering for "fans, media, and the industry." 

It feels so early to say, "so long, E3. See you next year," but here we are.

Original Story: More and more dominoes continue to fall in the gaming industry and beyond. Major events are being cancelled by the day and now it looks one of the biggest ones of the gaming year just bit the dust. The Entertainment Software Association appears to have shuttered the annual E3 convention, set for June, due to concerns over the spreading COVID-19 coronavirus.

Speculation ran rampant on Tuesday night, as esteemed members of the gaming press pointed to E3's potential demise being imminent. Industry renegades Devolver Digital were the ones who really got the storm brewing, though, with a blunt statement on Twitter.

This was shortly followed by Ars Technica reporting that the show was cancelled based on sources close to the ESA.

E3 joins a growing list of cancelled or postponed events in the gaming industry, including this year's Game Developers Conference and far too many esports events to name here. The June convention was already facing an uphill battle with exhibitors like PlayStation and luminaries like Geoff Keighley opting to skip the show.

Official word from the ESA is not in as of this article's post. We will be sure to monitor this story closely and offer updates as soon as they come in.


Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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  • reply
    March 10, 2020 7:25 PM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Report: E3 2020 cancelled over coronavirus concerns

    • reply
      March 10, 2020 7:29 PM

      Not surprised. In fact I was kinda expecting this before the virus became an issue. Of course now when and where will we hear about new consoles?

      • reply
        March 11, 2020 12:31 AM

        This doesn't mean that press conferences of MS or others publishers have been cancelled. MS could still be holding their conference as if nothing has changed, however I imagine they will be cancelling or shooting behind closed doors.

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          March 11, 2020 3:11 AM

          Yeah I expect it will be more of a Nintendo Direct style vs a big theater.

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      March 10, 2020 7:35 PM

      Considering the lead time it takes to produce an event like that -- all the custom order booth builds, tech contractors, equipment shipping logistics, etc. -- all of that needs to be done months in advance, and if people are bowing out already... yeah, it's just too much of a gamble to move forward with "business as usual".

      The ESA would do well to leverage this down-time to build up the community online and generate the buzz around the idea of future E3's being more like gaming festivals.

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        March 10, 2020 9:00 PM

        I’m not sure I trust them to have that foresight or vision, especially given how they have been failing to keep the show’s relevance for a number of years now. Maybe this is a good time for their relatively new leadership to get their bearings and set shit straight. Like taking a year off from an assassin’s creed game!!

    • reply
      March 10, 2020 8:51 PM


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