E3 has for decades been one of the biggest events of the yearly video game calendar. Usually slotted into the summer, it was an opportunity for some of gaming’s largest publishers to showcase what it had coming in the future.
Unfortunately, the last few years have not been kind to the showcase. It was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and then forced to be an all digital showcase in 2021. However, while there was hope that in 2022 the showcase would return back to having a physical presence — it was reported back in January that the 2022 showcase would be entirely digital.
At the time, the digital-only showcase was said to be due to health concerns with COVID-19, but many reports stated that the future of the entire show was in doubt when the hosts of E3, the ESA, remained oddly quiet about their biggest event of the year. On Thursday, those fears came to fruition when the ESA informed partners the event would be cancelled entirely.
Just got an email… It's official, E3 digital is official cancelled for 2022. Lots of mixed feelings about this…
— Will Powers 🛫 NYC (@WillJPowers) March 31, 2022
Many major publishers have recently opted to have their own yearly presentations sans the event. A lot of them did this when E3 was cancelled in 2020 and we’ve seen the physical presence of major publishers like EA and Sony pull out of the event in the past.
Despite these concerns, E3 is reportedly planning to return in 2023 according to IGN’s Rebekah Valentine.
Sources connected to the event tell IGN that discussions about a possible digital equivalent have been ongoing ever since, but without strong momentum to drive them. Instead, the ESA seems to be making plans to regroup for a larger comeback in 2023.
What a larger comeback would look like, we aren’t entirely sure. One thing that does seem certain is if E3 does return, it isn’t going to be the same showcase many of us have grown to know.