The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) made a real go at reviving the gaming industry’s biggest annual event, even enlisting ReedPop to take over its management and reimagine the show to be more consumer-focused. But, for a variety reasons, the ESA and ReedPop failed to bring it back, announcing today that this year’s E3 has been cancelled. Here’s their statement:

“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, in a news release. “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.”

E3 faced several major challenges that the ESA and Reedpop couldn’t overcome. Firstly, it was going to be the first E3 in four years. That gave publishers like Sony, Microsoft, Capcom, and Ubisoft time to build up their digital infrastructure, allowing them to those events digitally. Digital showcases are significantly less expensive than attending a trade show and also provides publishers the freedom to air their presentations on their schedule. Secondly, ReedPop CEO Lance Festerman is stepping down after 17 years, putting the company is in a state of flux, which surely added to the challenge of launching a new event.

Thirdly, publishers have been slowly disassociating with E3 for years. None of the console makers (Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo) would have had presence this year. Same for Activision-Blizzard and EA. That left a handful of large publishers like Ubisoft, SEGA, Capcom, and Square Enix, who made verbal commitments to attend. The definitive reason (or reasons) E3 was cancelled hasn’t been reported, but the final nail on the coffin may have been when Ubisoft pulled out of the event.

How does this impact fans? Unless they planned to attend, it really doesn’t. Microsoft, Nintendo, and Ubisoft are still expected to air presentations in the days preceding the intended E3 dates (Tue, Jun 13 – Fri, Jun 16), and more publishers may follow suit. This mostly game industry professionals who won’t have the opportunity to network and take meetings in Los Angeles, at least not in the same way. It’s a shame for the developers and press to lose this opportunity to all gather together each year. ESA and ReedPop indicate that E3 will return, but the longer it’s away, the harder it is to believe it will ever come back.


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