RIP E3. After two decades of serving as gaming’s biggest in-person event for developers, vendors, and gamers to come together to celebrate one of the world’s biggest sources of entertainment, the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is officially dead for good.
This has been a long time coming. After the conference was able to come back for a digital-only experience in 2021, the 2022 and 2023 conference was canceled, so the writing was already on the wall for the death of E3. Now, it’s official. As reported by The Washington Post, Stanley Pierre-Louis, president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), said in a statement that the conference is not coming back.
“We know the entire industry, players and creators alike have a lot of passion for E3. We share that passion. We know it’s difficult to say goodbye to such a beloved event, but it’s the right thing to do given the new opportunities our industry has to reach fans and partners.”
Pierre-Louis went on to explain that, while E3 was the place to announce new games and hardware in the past, companies have been able to move towards hosting their own events without the need for an expo like E3 anymore.
“There were fans who were invited to attend in the later years, but it really was about a marketing and business model for the industry and being able to provide the world with information about new products. Companies now have access to consumers and to business relations through a variety of means, including their own individual showcases.”
There are still some huge gaming events that occur around the world every year. Just this year, Xbox returned to Gamescom — which is now likely the largest gaming conference replacing E3. Geoff Knightley, who had helped the ESA with the conference, now runs both Summer Game Fest and The Game Awards, two yearly shows that draw huge audiences both in person and through online streams.
There are also tons of events from gaming companies themselves. Xbox hosts multiple digital events every year to showcase new games coming to Game Pass and more. PlayStation also hosts similar events to announce new games and hardware like the recently launched PlayStation Portal. Nintendo, of course, started all of this when it launched its own “Direct” events back in 2011 — that’s now expanded to more events like its Indie World Showcase.
Despite all of these events proliferating and giving us plenty of things to tune in to, I’m still sad to see E3 go. I loved tuning in and watching the live streams back in the day to watch Xbox and PlayStation take the stage and announce their latest consoles, games, and more. While I never got an opportunity to actually attend in person, it was still an event that took up my days to tune in whenever there was a live stream to watch and follow the news on places like IGN, etc.
RIP, E3. May you have unlimited respawns in the afterlife.