E3 2020 canceled amid coronavirus concerns

Sergey Galyonkin / E3

Update: The ESA released a statement to Gamespot on March 11 officially canceling E3 2020.

ESA said in the statement, “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 original article continues below.

The Electronic Software Association (ESA) is reportedly set to cancel the 2020 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, as concern surrounding the impact of the coronavirus in Los Angeles continues to grow.

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Since its inception in 1995, E3 has been a staple event in the gaming industry as the biggest publishers from around the world converge on Los Angeles to reveal their latest projects. For the first time in the event’s history, however, the ESA is reportedly scrapping 2020’s event due to the coronavirus.

While an earlier statement addressed the public concern as Los Angeles was declared to be in a state of emergency, sources have reportedly confirmed to Ars Technica the event will, in fact, be canceled outright in the coming days.

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E3 has long been a landmark event for some of the most iconic reveals in gaming history.

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“One source said they’d heard the news of E3 2020’s cancellation directly from ESA members,” the report read. While there has yet to be any public confirmation regarding the cancellation from the ESA, a statement was allegedly intended for release on March 10, but fell through.

The conversation sparked back up in the community as Devolver Digital bluntly Tweeted on March 10 for the gaming community to “cancel E3 flights and hotels.”

“Been hearing secondhand whispers tonight from several devs/pubs that E3 is canceled, although I’ve also heard from a couple of people in positions to know that the ESA hasn’t officially made a decision yet,” Kotaku’s Jason Schreier responded to Devolver’s post.

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Additionally, Waypoint reporter Patrick Klepek shared he had also heard behind the scenes the ESA were “vetting a statement about E3’s status with various publishers and vendors, following an emergency meeting.”

While all signs seemingly point to an official announcement being released imminently, for the time being, there is no indication as to whether there will be an alternative to the event in 2020.

Following in the footsteps of Nintendo and its Direct broadcasts, as well as Sony and its State of Play livestreams, publishers could look to host individual conferences in digital form through the likes of YouTube and Twitch. However, given the concern surrounding the coronavirus in Los Angeles, it’s entirely likely these presentations remain strictly digital.

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Sony typically operates a number of independent broadcasts throughout each year in order to provide new announcements and updates.

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As we approach the beginning of a new console generation for both Microsoft and Sony, E3 would likely have served as a major unveiling as it has in generations past. 

From pricing to finalized hardware, information will have to be unveiled through an alternate platform once E3 2020 is officially canceled.

With esports events losing crowds, to various homestands canceled outright, and a number of large-scale gatherings scrapped at the last minute, the impact of coronavirus is already leaving an indelible mark on the gaming industry throughout 2020.

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