Confirming rumors that have been circulating within the industry almost since last year, E3 2023 has been canceled. An email was leaked to IGN stating the decision was made as the event “simply did not garner the sustained interest necessary to execute it in a way that would showcase the size, strength, and impact of our industry.”
Following reports within the last few months that Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft would not be attending this year’s event, Ubisoft followed suit and announced they would instead share a digital showcase, Ubisoft Forward. With no console maker and one of the largest publishers all skipping E3, those within the industry were wondering why they should make the trip to Los Angeles.
Compounding the problem is that no one was certain who would be in attendance with all of the absent companies. Devolver Digital, a large independent publisher, has made a big showing out of skipping the conference each year, while EA and Warner Bros gave no indication one way or another if they would be on the show floor. Without a concrete list of attendees, journalists struggled to schedule interviews and outside vendors didn’t know who to contact for meetings.
After news broke, Reedpop Global VP of Gaming Kyle Marsden-Kish issued a statement, stating, “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. 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.”
Following Covid-19-related cancellations from 2020 through 2022, this last cancellation may be the nail in the coffin for E3 as an annual event. Even if, at some point, a new console is ready to be announced, each company has proven it can produce its own digital showcase and cut out the ESA middleman.