The Electronic Software Association has announced that their signature yearly gaming expo, E3, has cancelled its in-person event for 2022.
While plenty of live events are scrapping or switching to virtual-only events due to the currently raging Omicron variant of COVID-19, most of those have been ones in January or February like the Sundance Film Festival or the Grammys.
E3 isn’t generally held until June which makes this a somewhat early call on the part of ESA. It would also mark the third year in a row with no in-person event after 2020’s was cancelled and 2021 went entirely virtual. In a statement released to IGN, the ESA says:
“Due to the ongoing health risks surrounding COVID-19 and its potential impact on the safety of exhibitors and attendees, E3 will not be held in person in 2022. We remain incredibly excited about the future of E3 and look forward to announcing more details soon.”
The ESA also told the outlet that it could not confirm at this time whether or not there would be a digital event this year like there was in 2021.
E3 itself, once arguably the most important date in the gaming calendar, has become visibly less prominent and important in recent years – especially with multiple major players opting out of the event in favor of their own.
Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and EA have all been running their own digital showcases, while the online-only Summer Games Fest and the widely broadcast The Game Awards have emerged as efficient beasts to showcase future products.
This means the future of E3 after the pandemic, as a whole, is not clear.