Almost three decades after first debuting at the Los Angeles Convention Centre, the Entertainment Software Association has announced it’s finally laying gaming convention E3 to rest.
A statement was posted to the official E3 Twitter, which read: “After more than two decades of E3, each one bigger than the last, the time has come to say goodbye. Thanks for the memories.” The statement signs off with “GGWP” in giant yellow letters.
In a statement to The Washington Post, ESA CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis said: “We know the entire industry, players and creators alike have a lot of passion for E3. We share that passion. We know it’s difficult to say goodbye to such a beloved event, but it’s the right thing to do given the new opportunities our industry has to reach fans and partners.”
He continued: “There were fans who were invited to attend in the later years, but it really was about a marketing and business model for the industry and being able to provide the world with information about new products. Companies now have access to consumers and to business relations through a variety of means, including their own individual showcases.”
It’s been an unfortunate few years for the expo, with 2020 feeling like the beginning of the end for E3. The Covid-19 pandemic saw its 2020 show get cancelled, before coming back in a stripped-down digital format in 2021. While we said that the show was “better than we could have expected,” it still didn’t prove to be quite enough.
(Image credit: @E3 via Twitter)
That, as we know now, didn’t happen. Despite a partnership with PAX organiser ReedPop, huge hitters like Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo revealed that they wouldn’t be making an appearance at the show’s first attempt to return in-person since 2019. Ubisoft, who had previously committed to appearing, subsequently pulled out just two months later.
It led to E3 2023 being yet another cancelled event, something ReedPop global VP of gaming Kyle Marsden-Kish called “a difficult decision because of all the effort we and our partners put toward making this event happen.” Six months later, in September 2023, ReedPop and the ESA ended its partnership and confirmed that there would be no E3 in 2024 either.
Despite this, there were talks of the ESA planning for a big relaunch sometime in 2025. Despite history, I was still holding out a little bit of hope that we might actually see some grand return in the future. Unfortunately, that’s no longer the case.
The news of E3’s demise is being touted as a real “end of an era moment,” and it is. It was once the biggest convention in the industry, and being a part of it was a milestone for many working in games media and development. While it’s felt like the expo’s fate has been sealed for a hot sec, it’s still sad to see an event that’s as old as I am bite the dust.