E3 has been cancelled, and no one reading the news is surprised. It may be the most noteworthy convention in the gaming calendar, but with famous festivals like Coachella postponed and the Olympics under serious jeopardy, it’s hardly surprising that coronavirus has claimed another victim. Of course, in this case, the pandemic may prove to be the smokescreen that organisers ESA need to save the stumbling show.
While it’s been a kind of Christmas for gaming enthusiasts for decades, E3 2019 was not a good show. Part of that can be attributed to the timing – the tail-end of generations rarely bring the biggest news. E3 2020 was being billed as a comeback, but all has not been well behind-the-scenes. Sony, for instance, was quick to distance itself from the event – cancelling its showcase for the second successive year.
The Japanese giant, who’s clearly had issues with the convention for some time, promised that it would interact with fans at hundreds of other events around the globe – and later announced a bumper booth for PAX East 2020. While coronavirus ultimately pulled the plug on its plans, it’s become increasingly obvious that Sony’s issue is not with consumer and trade conventions, but with E3 itself. Renowned journalist Geoff Keighley followed the manufacturer’s lead.
But in reality, E3 2020 was shaping up to be an unmitigated disaster. It was pitched as a “fan, media, and influencer festival”, but it lost its creative team only days ago. iam8bit, the group tasked with transforming this year’s show, said that it had “mixed emotions” about its resignation. Exactly how ESA planned to pivot and replace its creative directors with just three months until the event itself will never be known.
In truth, this may be a blessing in disguise. We can all safely assume that this year’s event would not have been good, and with various controversies gripping at its coattails, a disastrous show could have proved the final nail in the formerly great convention’s coffin. At the very least, it now has a year to regroup, reconsider, and decide exactly what it wants E3 to be in the future. That’s a positive thing for the gaming industry as a whole.
The problem it now faces is whether publishers will ever want to return. Sony, it’s safe to say, would have branched out on its own – but now Microsoft and Ubisoft have announced similar plans. We can assume that Bethesda, Square Enix, Warner Bros, and any of the other usual suspects will all host their own events as well – either digitally in June, or physically later in the year. The companies may find that operating on their own terms gives them more flexibility – and does less damage to their bottom line. And that could mean the ESA will have problems getting organisations back through the door.
This feels like a turning point, and while coronavirus is taking centre stage, there’s clearly a lot more going on behind-the-scenes than we realise. It’s possible that E3 may have already taken its last breath, in which case we’re entering a brave new world right now. ESA may have avoided an embarrassing summer, but now the real work begins, as it works to redeem the convention’s rapidly deteriorating reputation.
Do you think coronavirus could have inadvertently saved E3 from itself? How do you feel about the event's future? Pull the plug in the comments section below.
possible BUT as you said on the flip side if publishers figure out they can put on their own show such as a YouTube livestream which will reach just as many people online, that they can release whenever they want to and cost a lot less to them too it could also spell the end of the show completely
It's a really interesting point. Obviously safety is paramount when it comes to the coronavirus or any kind of public threat, but you do have to wonder whether it's actually turned out to be a convenient scapegoat for the ESA, as the article suggests.
Before this, E3 was being torn to shreds. The ESA had the E3 2019 data breach, Sony was basically saying it's no longer relevant, and Geoff Keighley clearly thought E3 2020 was set to be a disaster. Then you've got all the celebrity and influencer stuff on top of that.
A year off probably suits the ESA at this point.
As long as we still get updates for Sony Ubisoft and Bethesda and maybe techland for Dying Light 2 I don't really care what they cancel
@FullbringIchigo I would be okay with no e3 i think Nintendo and Sony have the right idea with live streams it is 2020 after all and besides the only real benefit to E3 is being able to play demos early and buying merchandise and maybe meeting a celebrity or two all of which I can live without especially since most of those demos come to the store fronts for Xbox or Playstation anyways before the game releases
For me... I've never been to this event (also because I'm from other side of earth) so I cannot say how it is to be there personally, but I liked the old "look" of conferences where it was half theatre - half trailer. But last years it all converts to just presentation of "block of trailers". Sony's E3 2018 was total disaster for us, who have no other option than watch live stream.
i guess that IF e3 will ever come back it will be with that online event they are going to do this year.
if it won't come back well atleast it went down without that horrible influencer that would have been their last show.
also if the gaming companies will host their own direct streams from now on than perhaps the time they will host these will be european friendly. because back at e3 sony had the worst time slot possible for european fans. way to late in the night.
The question is if product (like the PS5, XB2, and BOTW2) will be delayed due to the corona virus?
Because if they don't have stuff to release in 2020, why do they need a presentation or conference?
Its simple. If what Ms , Sony , ubi etc do instead is even just good, then E3 is dead. If it's not good, then E3 nostalgic may have a chance. Most people and press only care about the conferences sadly, it is what it is
There is also a problem with the Online events if it continues to remain as nothing but a unseen announcer and game trailers. What made E3 is stage presence! Many of the past heads of Sony have been very well like to a celebrity status. The PlayStation Experience of the launch of PS4 is gone, it now feels sterile and cold. Releasing PS5 info through Wired magazine are you kidding me!
It's largely hacky journalists who've been calling for E3's end, not gamers. I never hear this about TGS or GamesCon.
I always said there needed to be another E3-type event for the public. There's PAX now, at least.
I really really don't understand why people were so upset with E3 and why so many people seem to be glad it is, or appears to be dying.
I've always found it rather fun. All the hype building up, the rumors, the bombardment for trailers and announcements. It's always been rather exciting.
But from the sound of it here and on NintendoLife, you guys seem to want it to die. That's the impression I'm getting from both sites and many comments.
More like authentic journalists who recognize the current state of gaming. Nintendo Direct set the stage, and the Switch's sales numbers have proven that E3 is not an essential element.
As for TGS or GamesCon, it spotlights E3 management by the ESA. Phil Spencer, Xbox head, is a part of that management. Could there be a causal connection between the Xbox One immense sales gap from PS4 and Sony's non-participation in E3 that correlate? Who knows.
@lacerz There's nothing authentic about the likes of people such as mountain dew Geoff Kieghley, or Jason Schreir when he defended loot boxes and blamed gamers. They control the narrative. They tell you something is terrible enough times, one starts believing it.
Switch was a great idea that resonated with a mass audience. I guarantee you if Wii U had debuted in a direct, but had all its other shortcomings, your opinion would be the opposite. "They needed E3 to show it off" Look how that turned out.
I expect why Sony bailed was cause their 2018 show was a disaster, and they had little to show in 2019.
These other shows from EA, Square, Ubisoft, are unnecessary and are mostly awful. A direct makes more sense for them.
Xbox's and PS4's sales gap is due from MS commiting suicide before the generation began with their draconian game sharing policy and $100 higher price and forced Kinect. Sony were the heroes and championed player choice and goodwill. No mystery there.
But now in 2020, with the all digital XBO, Gamestop dying off and digital so popular, they'd be able to do it now. It's a different world.
E3 can still be good, but it needs an overhaul.
Nearly all gamers watch youtube for e3 trailer, it doesn't make sense for third party to pay exorbitant price for e3 booth, it will be cheaper to release the trailer themselves while inviting all the gaming youtubers for previews event.
From a causal gamers perspective I remember reading the news about Sony’s last E3 and scratching my head at the wheezing and whining of the journalists. Complaining that Sony played the videos too quickly and other asinine issues that weren’t real problems. A lot of the news was just temper tantrums at Sony for not wowing the journalist crowd at the show. For normal people E3 is an exciting week to share new game trailers with friends and get hyped reading exciting news.
I think the people working in game journalism played a big role in Sony dropping out and turning a purely fun event for us normies at home into a cry-fest that ended up killing E3
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