E3 2020 officially cancelled: So what happens now?

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UPDATE: 11:40am ET - This article has been updated in light of the ESA's official announcement of the cancellation of E3 2020.

E3 2020 has become the next victim of a coronavirus cancellation.

Multiple sources speaking to Ars Technica and Bloomberg reported earlier today that the decision to cancel the event had already been made, but the ESA has now gone on record in a statement on the E3 2020 website to announce that the conference will, indeed, no longer be held.

"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," the statement opens.

E3 2020 won’t be cancelled entirely, however, as the ESA says it's looking at alternatives. "We are also exploring options with our members to coordinate an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020."

The industry group also says that this won't affect next year's conference. "We look forward to bringing you E3 2021 as a reimagined event that brings fans, media and the industry together in a showcase that celebrates the global video game industry."

Earlier today, in a somewhat flippant response to the rumors, indie game publisher Devolver Digital posted the following tweet, which while not explicitly saying the conference is cancelled, implied it heavily.

Companies like Nintendo and Sony have greatly reduced, or even totally removed, their physical presences at the LA Convention Center over the past few years. Microsoft was due to turn up, according to a tweet made by Phil Spencer, the head of the Xbox division at the company, back in January. Without Sony there to distract journalists and fans, Xbox could have really shown off the Xbox Series X at its best.

Fortunately, you can still get your fix of Xbox Series X info from a livestream event that Microsoft is holding next week. Based on the schedule, it looks like we'll learn about the cloud gaming capabilities of the new console, and maybe some in-development titles, too.

The reported cancellation of E3 2020 follows other events like MWC, GDC, SXSW and others that have decided to not go ahead with their plans due to fears of people catching COVID-19. The ESA had previously declared that E3 would go ahead as planned this year, with additional safety measures in place, but that it would continually monitor the situation and follow the advice of the CDC.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.

  • Engineer.AI
    E3 should be a webinar of sorts, and would benefit from this change a huge lot. Recent showings have been less than spectacular. Will however miss the cringe compilations though.