The Electronic Entertainment Expo used to be the cornerstone of the video game industry, the week that every publisher, developer and fan had circled in their calendars because it was where the biggest news, reveals and interviews of the year could be had.
That was then, though, with “then” being any time from the 1990s through to the mid 2010s. As the last decade wore on, however, publishers worked out they could better manage their news cycles by themselves in their own time, and the popularity of online news showcases increased, meaning E3 became less and less relevant as a blockbuster spectacle (even if it remained somewhat useful as a genuine industry tradeshow).
There was also, you know, a global pandemic that meant the show hasn’t taken place in-person at the LA Convention Centre for the last three years, giving those competing online showcases plenty of time to spread their wings. That hasn’t helped, either.
Anyway, now that the pandemic is abating (or people have simply stopped caring about it), live events like E3 are starting to take place again. And with a whole bunch of E3's replacements due to run over the next months, the event’s organisers have decided now is the moment to declare that they’re going to try to bring the whole thing back for 2023.
“We’re excited about coming back in 2023 with both a digital and an in-person event,” Stan Pierre-Louis, CEO of E3 organisers the ESA, has told The Washington Post. “As much as we love these digital events, and as much as they reach people and we want that global reach, we also know that there’s a really strong desire for people to convene — to be able to connect in person and see each other and talk about what makes games great.”
You can’t blame them for trying. But with Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft all happy making big announcements in their own time, and Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest starting to hit its stride, you have to wonder how much of that “reach to convene” is going to be left for E3—whose 2021 online show was a disaster—when there are already industry-only conferences like GDC getting back underway, and fans are now getting their big reveals elsewhere.