(Image: Electronic Entertainment Expo 2018)
With the rise and rapid spread of the latest coronavirus variant Omicron, which saw a very sharp increase in confirmed cases, it'll be another year without a live attended E3 event. The pandemic brought venues closed in 2021, but according to IGN, the ESA organized a digital event in its place. Sony bypassed the digital event, sitting out E3 for two years in a row, giving less importance to the once heralded event.
"Due to the ongoing health risks surrounding COVID-19 and its potential impact on the safety of exhibitors and attendees, E3 will not be held in person in 2022," reads a statement by the ESA. "We remain incredibly excited about the future of E3 and look forward to announcing more details soon.”
In light of events, one would expect the ESA to mention plans for a second digital event, but in a follow-up statement to IGN, representatives said there were currently no plans, but information will be available soon. This hangs an E3 digital event, as well as the state of the platform in question, and the ESA has been noticeably silent on social media platforms.
The importance and prestige of E3 has seen a decline in appeal in recent years. As mentioned above, high profile publishers and developers like Sony has opted out of hosting showcases in favor of their own platforms and events. Nintendo forewent E3 in favor of their spontaneous Nintendo Direct formats, prepackaged vignettes highlighting upcoming products, and Treehouse Events. The ESA also received great scrutiny for the 2019 data leak, that revealed the personal data of 2000 analysts, journalists, and content creators.
There's strong reason to believe the relevance of E3 has been long gone. Companies hold their own events, and smaller studios are likely to get far more attention without having to try and out-muscle the bigger names in the business. The data breach is a considerable blow, but the coronavirus might be the catalyst that does it in.