Wednesday brought official word that the Electronic Entertainment Expo, E3, will not be held in June of this year amid growing concerns about the spread of coronavirus. The show’s cancelation was widely speculated in the days leading up to the official decision, as a number of vendors and gaming companies had made statements online about the likelihood that one of gaming’s biggest yearly events would not take place.
In its place, those that were expected to showcase games and technology at the expo have begun to plan live stream events where they will let fans see what they have in store for the gaming industry over the coming year. The biggest of those is Microsoft, which announced following E3’s cancelation that it will plan a streaming event, likely around June 9-11, when the expo was supposed to take place in Los Angeles.
E3 has always been an important moment for Team Xbox. Given this decision, this year we'll celebrate the next generation of gaming with the @Xbox community and all who love to play via an Xbox digital event. Details on timing and more in the coming weeks https://t.co/xckMKBPf9h
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) March 11, 2020
Sony, which will join Microsoft in likely sharing more information about its next-generation hardware in the coming months, had already pulled out of E3 and will likely do the same. Nintendo, meanwhile, already holds its Direct event via livestream. Ubisoft will also hold a livestream of some sort in lieu of attending E3, while other developers are likely to follow suit.
The cancelation of E3 changes the industry in some ways, but most of the true harm will befall vendors who made their mark on the show floor, as well as smaller publishers who may not draw as much attention from livestreams as the major players in the industry. Everyone will pay attention to what Microsoft and Ubisoft will present, but those smaller companies often relied on the foot traffic from E3 to get the word out on their own games and products.