E3 2020 is Rumored to Be Cancelled by Multiple Sources

E3 2020 is Rumored to Be Cancelled by Multiple Sources

With uncertainty growing about the impact of the coronavirus worldwide, rumors have increased that E3 2020 may be officially cancelled.

With growing concerns and fears about the coronavirus worldwide, an epidemic that has already led to the cancellation or postponement of several major events like GDC and SXSW, the uncertainty around whether E3 2020 will actually happen this year has increased week by week. While the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has reassured in the past few weeks that it still intends to move forward with E3 for this year, growing rumors indicate that this may no longer be the case.

Several rumors have begun surfacing that suggest E3 2020 may be cancelled entirely, most notably coming from a tweet from publisher Devolver Digital saying to “cancel your E3 flights and hotels.” While the ESA has yet to officially confirm this just yet, Devolver Digital has regularly maintained a presence at E3 for several years with an off-site event nearby, which lends credence to the possibility that more publishers or developers may be pulling out of the event due to the coronavirus outbreak worldwide.

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Subsequent tweets from several members of the games press such as Jason Schreier, Patrick Klepek, and Mike Futter have also referenced sources close to either developers or publishers that were supposed to attend E3 2020, indicating that they either pulled out from the event or that E3 has been cancelled entirely. According to Schreier and Futter, an impending announcement regarding the status of the event seems to be planned for tomorrow morning (March 11), so hopefully we won’t have to wait too much longer to know more.

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While this should be taken with a reasonable grain of salt, it’s far from a huge surprise that the ESA would potentially consider cancelling E3 2020 outright. This is not only for the fact that notable past attendees–such as Sony and most recently iam8bit–have pulled out from this year’s event, but with so much increased pressure from other events cancelling or postponing in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, it only seemed inevitable that E3 would follow suit to prevent mass gatherings of attendees and further spreading the virus.

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What this means for the future of the event itself remains unclear, other than that the probability of an in-person event seems highly unlikely at this point, given that E3 draws tens of thousands of attendees each year. Other than the event itself being cancelled, other options for the ESA could include either postponing the event to a later point in the year (though unlikely depending on the availability of either the Los Angeles Convention Center or another venue), or as Klepek suggested, perhaps a digital event focused on press conferences and live-streamed broadcasts. However, with the event getting closer and increased urgency on addressing the coronavirus around the world, the ESA needs to make a decision on the status of the event sooner rather than later, and probably for the better.