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Microsoft to host Xbox Series X digital event now that E3 is canceled

Published Mar 11th, 2020 1:52PM EDT
Xbox Series X
Image: Casey Rodgers/Invision for Xbox/AP Images

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  • The Electronic Software Association officially canceled E3 2020 on Wednesday amid growing concerns surrounding the novel coronavirus.
  • Microsoft is planning an “Xbox digital event” to discuss its future plans in place of its E3 keynote.
  • Ubisoft and EA are both deciding their next steps as well in light of the cancellation.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

Following a smattering of tweets and reports on Tuesday evening, the Electronic Software Association (ESA) officially confirmed on Wednesday that E3 2020 has been canceled due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. As it became clear that the spread of COVID-19 was not expected to stop any time soon, many expected that it was only a matter of time before the ESA would have to cancel the show, which attracted over 60,000 people last year.

“After careful consultation with our member companies regarding the health and safety of everyone in our industry—our fans, our employees, our exhibitors and our longtime E3 partners—we have made the difficult decision to cancel E3 2020, scheduled for June 9-11 in Los Angeles,” the ESA said in a statement.

This is certainly a bummer for fans of the extravagant event, but the ESA added that it is working with its members to potentially “coordinate an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020.” We don’t know exactly what shape this would take or which members would be involved, but Xbox boss Phil Spencer threw his team’s hat into the ring with the following tweet discussing an “Xbox digital event”:

E3 is well-attended (though attendance was down last year), but a vast majority of consumers absorb all of the news and announcements through livestreaming anyway, so while you might not read any hands-on previews or interviews with developers from the show floor, the average video game fan shouldn’t be affected. This will also save the studios who spend millions on booths and staffers at the Los Angeles Convention Center untold amounts of money. Without a massive stage show to plan and execute, we can get to the games more quickly.

In addition to Microsoft, Polygon reports that several other major studios have digital events in the works. Ubisoft says it is “exploring other options for a digital experience,” while EA says it is reviewing how [E3’s cancellation] will change our plans for EA PLAY 2020.” Meanwhile, Nintendo has yet to issue a response, and Sony revealed that it would be skipping E3 altogether back in January, which means the PS5 reveal won’t be affected.

The risk of the next-gen console releases being delayed increases every day, and the cancellation of E3 2020 clearly isn’t a good sign. But Microsoft has been trickling out details about the Xbox Series X in rather unconventional ways ever since we first found out about Project Scarlett, so I have a feeling that the company will find an interesting and satisfying way to fully reveal the console and its launch lineup this summer.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.