Earlier today, the Entertainment Software Association said it will cancel the video game trade show E3 this year amid growing concerns over the spread of COVID-19, aka coronavirus. Since the announcement, major game publishers have said they still plan to share news about upcoming games, but in a different format.
Despite Sony pulling out of the show altogether starting last year, E3 remains one of the biggest gaming events of the year, a valuable place for game makers to meet with one another and show off their creations to the world. Many publishers like Microsoft and Electronic Arts had left the show floor in favor of hosting their own fan-centric satellite events, but the main E3 event was still the glue that held it all together. Some companies have already announced plans for digital events later this year, but in-person fan events like EA Play aren’t so easily replicated online.
Here’s what video game publishers are saying about the cancellation.
“E3 has always been an important moment for Team Xbox. Given this decision, this year we’ll celebrate the next generation of gaming with the Xbox community and all who love to play via an Xbox digital event. Details on timing and more in the coming weeks.”
“Nintendo supports the ESA’s decision to cancel this year’s E3 to help protect the health and safety of everyone in our industry—our fans, our employees, our exhibitors and our longtime E3 partners. We would like to express our concern and support for all those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak during this challenging time.”
“We’ll continue to be flexible and redirect our efforts to other ways of keeping our fans up to date about our activities and products. Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, large industry events may be untenable for the foreseeable future. But we are considering various ways to engage with our fans and will have more to share as the year continues.”
“The health and well-being of our teams, players and partners is our top priority, so while we’re disappointed, we fully support the ESA’s decision to cancel E3 2020. E3 is and will continue to be a moment where we come together as a community and share our love of games. We’re exploring other options for a digital experience that will allow us to share all the exciting news we have planned.”
“We’ve continued to follow the coronavirus developments around the world very closely. Clearly the situation is evolving by the day, and we’ve been reviewing how it will change our plans for EA PLAY 2020. We will share more soon.”
“The week of E3 has always been a big part of what we do and are genuinely bummed about the cancelation of the event itself. Lots to juggle but right now we plan on having a livestream Devolver Direct / press conference and possibly more.”
“As the world has echoed and united, nothing is more important than protecting the health and well-being of our employees and their families, our partners, and unquestionably, our fans. We support the ESA’s decision to cancel E3 2020 and send our strongest heartfelt appreciation to everyone that works tirelessly to bring unforgettable games and experience to E3. We understand this is disappointing not only to our respective developers and publishers, but also to thousands of fans who venture from afar to celebrate games at E3. We’re right there with you.
Our 2020 lineup, and the next-generation that lies beyond, is stronger than ever for Square-Enix. Where E3 has always been an incredible moment in time to showcase our upcoming games, we’re exploring other options to share our games with you. More to come, stay tuned.”
Warner Bros., Take-Two, Square Enix, and Bethesda did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Activision Blizzard declined to comment.
Update: 5:16, 3/12/20: This article has been updated with a statement from Square Enix.