E3 2023 has been cancelled — it’s not happening in any form, in-person or digital, this year. The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) confirmed the news on Twitter, following an original report from IGN based on emails sent to its members. It mentioned that while E3 was a beloved brand, the 2023 edition ‘simply did not garner the sustained interest necessary’ to execute the event in a manner that would display the size and strength of the games industry. In January, the big three — PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo — pulled out of the summer video game event, leaving barely any major publishers.
Following IGN’s report, E3 2023 organiser ReedPop issued a public statement. “This was a difficult decision because of all the effort we and our partners put toward making this event happen, but we had to do what’s right for the industry and what’s right for E3,” Kyle Marsden-Kish, Global VP of gaming, ReedPop said, adding that a lot of publishers and developers interested in the event wouldn’t even have playable demos ready for showcase. “For those who did commit to E3 2023, we’re sorry we can’t put on the showcase you deserve and that you’ve come to expect from ReedPop’s event experiences”, he continued.
The show was supposed to be held from June 13–16 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, marking the first in-person E3 since the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. It took a virtual, digital approach in 2021, after which, the event got cancelled again in 2022.
Earlier this week, Ubisoft backed out of E3 2023, after having previously committed to it. The publisher has chosen to ‘move in a different direction,’ and will now hold its own, separate Ubisoft Forward Live event on June 12 in LA. Further details on the same will be revealed in time, albeit CEO Yves Guillemot promised ‘lots of things to show.’ Following that announcement, even Tencent and Yakuza publisher Sega were confirmed to be skipping E3.
Just like Ubisoft, Microsoft will be hosting an Xbox Games Showcase on June 11, with an in-depth feature for Bethesda’s upcoming sci-fi RPG Starfield, planned for later. Meanwhile, Nintendo and PlayStation will continue hosting their respective online events to showcase new games and updates. Alternatively, they could be joining hands with Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest — at this point, there’s no telling.
Since 2020 — the pandemic era — Keighley’s month-long-running Summer Game Fest has dethroned E3 as the industry’s key destination to reveal the biggest games and news. Also, being a digital, online-only event, publishers don’t have to spend large amounts to secure a physical booth. The year’s festival kicks off on June 8 and has already swiped Xbox and Ubisoft from beneath E3’s feet as some of its main highlights. The Summer Game Fest 2023 will be streamed live from the YouTube Theatre in Los Angeles, and funnily enough, put out its new promotional trailer right after ESA’s announcement.