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E3 rules out physical show this year

“Excited about the possibilities of an online event.”

E3 will not be held in its traditional in-person form this year, its organiser the ESA has confirmed.

Some kind of digital offering may be held instead – as it was last year – but even that now seems uncertain.

In a statement issued last night, the ESA said it had cancelled the June event due to potential risks from Covid – though several journalists subsequently suggested the event had actually been scrapped before Christmas.

PlayStation had already ditched E3 years ago.

E3 is currently in a troubled state, with a lacklustre digital showing last year that frequently felt unnecessary. Without a physical show tying proceedings together – and requiring big-name games publishers to pay up for conference hall space – several companies simply held their own digital shows around the same time.

Others, such as EA and Sony – who had splintered off from being part of E3 even when it was an in-person event – ignored the traditional E3 week completely to hold online briefings later in the summer.

And then there’s the impact of Summer Game Fest, the non-ESA organised digital event that ended up providing many of last summer’s big reveals instead. Put together by Geoff Keighley, who himself split from E3, and who also runs August’s Gamescom Opening Night Live and December’s The Game Awards, it also sucked away announcements from the ESA’s effort.

“Due to the ongoing health risks surrounding Covid-19 and its potential impact on the safety of exhibitors and attendees, E3 will not be held in person in 2022,” the ESA told GamesBeat. “We remain incredibly excited about the future of E3 and look forward to announcing more details soon.”

Quick to capitalise, Keighley tweeted last night that Summer Game Fest would return.

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The last in-person E3 event was held in 2019, at the show’s traditional home of the Los Angeles Convention Centre. It remains to be seen whether that will also be its last.

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