E3 2020 is Officially Cancelled Due to Coronavirus Concerns [UPDATE]

Couldn't have happened last year before the ESA leak?

Update: Microsoft and Ubisoft have both confirmed plans to hold digital events in lieu of E3 2020 press conferences.

Original story below:

COVID-19, the new coronavirus, has claimed another industry event, as E3 has been officially cancelled this year, following in the footsteps of the Game Developers Conference and confirming online whispers from several figures in the games industry last night.

The Entertainment Software Association, which has been responsible for the Los Angeles trade show since it began in 1995, released a statement to GameSpot confirming the show’s cancellation, while also saying it’s looking into means that any announcements that were in the works for the show to be made at some point in June.

“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 difficult decision to cancel E3 2020, scheduled for June 9-11 in Los Angeles,” an ESA representative said in the statement.

“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.”

In other news:

While some are making claims online that this means the end for the show at large, the ESA’s statement says that E3 2021 will continue as planned, but also claims it will be a time of change for the long-running convention where it will be reemerge “as a reimagined event that brings fans, media and the industry together in a showcase that celebrates the global video game industry.”

Despite waning attendance over the years bringing the show’s necessity into question, E3’s cancellation does leave a pretty big hole in game announcements this year, especially when new game consoles are coming out this holiday season. Yes, Sony had already confirmed it wouldn’t have shown up to E3 anyway, and major faces and contributors to the whole thing like Game Awards boss Geoff Keighley weren’t going to be working the show, and a lot of media and content creators weren’t feeling particularly eager to go after their personal information was leaked last year because of incompetence on the ESA’s part (that they have yet to make amends for or even show an ounce of regret about)…where was I going with this? I had a point.

Oh right, the Xbox Series X would have, theoretically, gotten a more substantial showcase at Microsoft’s conference this year. So it sounds like Xbox has some decisions to make about how it’s going to rollout announcements for its next console. This might be an opportunity for Microsoft to look to digital events like Sony’s State of Play and Nintendo Directs, which have brought a great deal of attention to games in their own right, even if they’re lacking in the same production and fanfare of a press conference.