No surprise, E3 is not holding an in-person event in 2022.
The ESA (Entertainment Software Association) announced it hit the pause button on E3 2022, well, in-person for that matter. The ESA came to its decision out of concern due to the spread of the tightly contagious Omicron COVID-19 variant, but some believe there are other reasons for the move.
“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 said in a statement sent to IGN. “We remain incredibly excited about the future of E3 and look forward to announcing more details soon.”
While it’s totally understandable, the ESA decided to make this move. It would have been safe to assume that a digital show would be the course of action. IGN reports that the ESA did not confirm an all-digital showcase is happening this year. The website reports the physical show didn’t even have actual dates locked in on the LACC calendar, unlike past shows and 2021’s digital show that were planned a year in advance by the ESA.
Sources also revealed to IGN that they would have heard formal plans for whatever the ESA is doing, but it’s been crickets. It’s been a pure struggle for the ESA. In 2019, 2000 journalists, YouTubers, and analysts who had attended E3 saw their private info leak. The following month, a report was shared by GameDaily.biz revealing a pitch for an overhauled plan “fan, media, and influencer festival” focused around “experience hubs” and featuring “queuetainment” or marketing targeted toward people stuck waiting in line.”
The struggles didn’t end there. A few months later, Geoff Keighley announced that he would no longer be a part of E3 for the first time in 25 years. E3 lost its creative director, Iam8bit, after he resigned a month later. In 2021, the digital event wasn’t well-received either, it was considered a mess by many viewers, and the companion app was panned, mainly for the many bugs it had and being barren.
To add more salt into E3’s open wound, Keighley announced the return of his Summer Games Fest on the same day E3 announced it was not holding an in-person event.
Also, many game studios decided to do their own digital shows without the help of the ESA. PlayStation is one of them. The company hasn’t been a part of E3 since 2019.
It does not sound good for E3, but we don’t believe it’s the end of the convention, we hope. It’s vital for the gaming industry.
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