With the bombshell news breaking overnight of E3’s apparent cancellation due to Coronavirus fears – coming shortly after GDC’s postponement, and the cancellation of a series of other high-profile events.
Its cancellation is (at the time of writing) still not officially confirmed, having seemingly been revealed by Devolver Digital in a Tweet.
Cancel your E3 flights and hotels, y’all.
— Devolver Digital (@devolverdigital) March 11, 2020
…although Kotaku’s Jason Schrier has reported rumours that the ESA has yet to make an official decision
Been hearing secondhand whispers tonight from several devs/pubs that E3 is cancelled, although I’ve also heard from a couple of people in positions to know that the ESA hasn’t officially made a decision yet and is still consulting with pubs. Either way, it’s only a matter of time https://t.co/Od0MDj3ZXv
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) March 11, 2020
Things have been looking rocky for E3 for a while – With a state of emergency having been declared in Los Angeles due to the virus. Despite its detractors, E3 remains a huge industry event, and as our editor Seth Barton explains, its cancellation this year, with the loss of business meetings and deals, are not things that can be easily replaced with Skype sessions and livestream reveals. And as Bithell Games’ Mike Bithell and Four Circle Interactive’s Dan Pearce explain, smaller developers are likely to be hard hit.
The impact of a year without GDC and E3 in terms of projects unsigned and deals undone, is gonna last for years. It’s a largely invisible influence, but I don’t know of many devs above a certain budget level that this hasn’t had any effect on.
— Mike Bithell (@mikeBithell) March 11, 2020
The sinking feeling of knowing that if Coronavirus had hit when we were looking for funding/publishing deals for our current project then our studio would almost definitely not still be here.
— Stan stan Dan (Dan Pearce) (@GameDesignDan) March 11, 2020
Of course, E3 isn’t just important for business purposes. The loss of such a huge event, even for just a year, has proven disappointing to those for whom E3 is a regular and important staple in their calendars. Some, such as IHS Markit’s Piers Harding-Rolls (who recently spoke to us regarding Coronavirus’ potential disruption of next-gen console production) praised the timing of the decision, while others debated what this meant for E3 going forwards.
E3 has been a cultural highlight to me as long as I remember. It’s THE week for video games.
It was of course beginning to falter anyway, what with publishers pulling out, media contact leaks, etc.
But the buzz of that week… it will be a grave shame to lose that this year.
— Ryan Brown 🎮 (@Toadsanime) March 11, 2020
E3 cancelled 😳
This is such an unprecedented and wild time to be working in the gaming events industry. https://t.co/t0PE9c5Mr4
— Guy ‘Yug’ Blomberg (@YugSTAR) March 11, 2020
If confirmed this makes total sense, & it’s good to see the decision made early. Gives companies enough time to reorganise their plans.
Overall games events business is under huge commercial pressure – likely will be forever changed by this black swan moment#E32020 https://t.co/iV9HwlsHSX
— Piers Harding-Rolls (@PiersHR) March 11, 2020
It might be that this is the year that games publishers learn how cost effective it is not to do E3. It’ll be an interesting test to see if the traditional media still has any impact. Or if live streams and company blogs is all that’s needed to get the same reach
— Christopher Dring (@Chris_Dring) March 11, 2020
Still, the news hasn’t been met with entirely serious responses…
Looks like all the new games to be announced at E3 2020 just leaked.
Image below has the entire list. Might take a while to load because of the large file size. pic.twitter.com/lDJlaRX3lH
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) March 11, 2020
Can’t believe E3 leaked the attendance list, again pic.twitter.com/RZ7qe6sNkh
— Matt Lees (@Jam_sponge) March 11, 2020
And, of course – this is disappointing news to the most important people of all.
So… maybe this wasn’t the year to have an event-centric strategy for MCV/DEVELOP. #E3Cancelled pic.twitter.com/mw4MTXJC2u
— Seth Barton (@SethBarton1) March 11, 2020