Pour one out for the “world reveals” and “world exclusives.” E3 won’t happen at all this summer, the Entertainment Software Association said in a statement to Kotaku.
The news, which was first reported by IGN, confirms what some observers anticipated would happen. For 2022, event organizers with the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) didn’t plan on hosting an in-person event, citing health concerns from the then-nascent omicron variant back in January, though the org’s statement at the time never explicitly stated a digital event would happen this year.
“We previously announced that E3 would not be held in person in 2022 due to the ongoing health risks surrounding COVID-19. Today, we announce that there will also be no digital E3 showcase in 2022,” the ESA said today. “Instead, we will devote all our energy and resources to delivering a revitalized physical and digital E3 experience next summer.”
This is the second time in three years where the ESA hasn’t held its annual hype fest. In 2020, due to the pandemic, organizers called it off. The event returned last year, albeit as an all-digital affair. Rumors swirled as early as January that E3 wouldn’t happen this year. It’s a huge blow, as E3 struggles to stay relevant amid the proliferation of unaffiliated all-digital events, like Sony’s regular State of Play showcases and Nintendo’s immensely popular, yet frustratingly sporadic, Direct streams.
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But it’s in line with trends around E3's dwindling relevance, as publishers move away from one singular week of hype and instead toward one-off events that happen throughout the year. Sony hasn’t taken part in E3 for years. Earlier this month, EA cancelled its annual E3-adjacent showcase, EA Play Live. Instead, it’ll reveal developments about its forthcoming slate of games—like Skate 4—in piecemeal announcements as details become ready for the public.
Minutes after word around E3's cancellation started to spread online, Geoff Keighley, the host of Summer Game Fest and the Game Awards, and the owner of a seemingly bottomless sneaker closet, tweeted out a winky-face emoji. The Summer Game Fest Twitter account, meanwhile, reassured followers that its event will kick off with a live showcase, with details to come.
Update, 3:45 p.m. ET: This post has been updated to reflect comment from the ESA.