And that’s now official, with the ESA, organisers of E3, putting an official announcement up online, text is as follows:
After careful consultation with our member companies regarding the health and safety of everyone in our industry – our fans, our employees, our exhibitors, and our longtime E3 partners – we have made the decision to cancel E3 2020, scheduled for June 9-11 in Los Angeles.
Following increased and overwhelming concerns about the COVID-19 virus, we felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation. We are very disappointed that we are unable to hold this event for our fans and supporters. But we know it’s the right decision based on the information we have today.
Our team will be reaching out directly to exhibitors and attendees with information about providing full refunds.
We are also exploring options with our members to coordinate an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020. Updates will be shared on E3Expo.com.
We thank everyone who shared their views on reimagining E3 this year. We look forward to bringing you E3 2021 as a reimagined event that brings fans, media, and the industry together in a showcase that celebrates the global video game industry.
Less than a week ago, organisers of E3 – the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) – insisted it was continuing to “plan for a safe and successful” show later this year whilst “actively assessing” the coronavirus outbreak. Now, however, it seems the expo will shortly be cancelled.
Overnight a number of credible rumours have surfaced, intimating the ESA will shortly postpone the show. One source told Ars Technica they’d heard E3 2020 had been cancelled “directly from ESA members” and that a formal statement on the matter “was supposed to be [Tuesday, March 10] and slipped”.
Shortly thereafter, indie game publisher Devolver Digital tweeted: “Cancel your E3 flights and hotels, y’all”.
Cancel your E3 flights and hotels, y’all.
— Devolver Digital (@devolverdigital) March 11, 2020
At the time of writing, the ESA has yet to formally confirm or deny the rumours, and it’s unclear if the expo will proceed with behind-closed-doors livestreams in place of the convention, or present pre-recorded announcements similar to Nintendo’s Nintendo Direct presentations.
The Game Developers Conference (GDC) has also been indefinitely postponed, and while attendees can expect a refund in full and those who had made hotel reservations via the organisation will be able to cancel without penalty, developers who’ve arranged their own accommodation might still be open to cancellation fees. A number of publishers have teamed up to create GDC Relief Fund to assist indie devs who may have lost money on paying in advance for the now-cancelled GDC.
Kojima Productions, Sony, EA, and Facebook – which owns Oculus – first pulled out of GDC, as did Microsoft, Epic, and Unity. The city of San Francisco – the city that was set to host the upcoming GDC conference next month – had also declared a “local health emergency” over coronavirus. A state of emergency has also be declared in Los Angeles.
Both Bungie, Microsoft and most recently Nintendo have implemented mandatory home working in a bid to protect staff from COVID-19 in the worst-affected cities in the US, and both Mojang and Electronic Arts have cancelled scheduled live events.
Like Geoff Keighley – who recently confirmed that he will not be producing the E3 Coliseum at E3 2020 – E3’s creative directors, production company Iam8bit, has confirmed it has resigned from the E3 2020 showcase. As yet, the company has not elaborated on why it has declined to participate in the show.
For more on this story read our take on how E3’s cancellation will impact the industry’s ability to communicate this year.