Scuttlebutt Says That E3’s Cancellation Is Imminent

The cancellation of this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo will be announced sometime tomorrow morning, according to multiple industry insiders citing anonymous sources on Twitter. Additionally, Ars Technica reports that it has confirmed the cancellation through its own sources. Meanwhile, Kotaku News Editor Jason Schreier reports that an anonymous informant with links to the Entertainment Software Association, which puts on E3 every year, claims that no announcement is scheduled.

While people have been speculating about the potential for E3’s cancellation since GDC postponed itself over coronavirus fears, today’s hubbub started in earnest when Katana Zero publisher Devolver Digital tweeted out an ominous missive: “Cancel your E3 flights and hotels, y’all.”

Schreier, who in recent years has built a strong reputation delivering thoroughly sourced insider information, was quick to chime in with his own details. “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,” Schreier tweeted. “Heard from two people that E3 cancellation will be announced tomorrow AM (both secondhand), and one person w/ ESA ties who insists that it won’t be. Normally I sit on conflicting info until I sort out what’s true, but with E3 rumors now everywhere, figured I’d be transparent here.”

Industry consultant and former Game Informer News Editor Mike Futter corroborated Schreier’s details about the impending cancellation, saying that his day “started with investigating some E3 stuff. Ended with multiple (and I mean MULTIPLE) sources coming my way. E3 cancelation [sic] announcement scheduled for tmw AM. I don’t think it will hold the night. Many of us have been engaged by sources this evening. Cancel your plans.”

Should this all pan out the way it’s sounding, it will be the first time an E3 has ever been cancelled. It will also make 2020 the first year without an E3 since the inaugural event in 1995, provided that you count 2007’s Weird E3™ in Santa Monica as a true E3 event. And yes, that also means that this will be/would have been E3’s 25th anniversary.

Shreier contends that, regardless of how things shake out in the morning, E3’s days are numbered. “But, again, whether or not it’s announced tomorrow morning, it’s only a matter of time before E3 is officially cancelled,” he said on Twitter. “Publishers can’t afford to wait much longer to make their plans, and all signs point to the virus getting way worse in the U.S. before it gets better.”

The virus Shreier refers to is, of course, COVID-19, the new coronavirus that has infected over 100,000 people and killed more than 4,000 since last December. The situation around the world continues to develop at a rapid and unpredictable pace, as governments on every populous continent work to contain the spread of the disease. The United States Surgeon General today said that “this is likely going to get worse before it gets better,” according to ABC News. Italy, which has seen the worst outbreak of the virus anywhere outside of China, today confirmed over 10,000 cases of infections and more than 600 deaths. The country’s 60 million people remain on nation-wide lock down until at least April 3.