Last night at 10 pm (UK GMT) on 30th May 2023, the E3 event organisers ReedPop announced that the event was to be cancelled:
Kyle Marsden-Kish, Reedpop’s Global VP of Gaming remarked:“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.”
Many people saw this coming after E3’s last hope of Ubisoft pulled out of the event after previously confirming that they would be there. They also had to cope with Nintendo and PlayStation both choosing to skip the event. This blow to E3’s attendance was clearly too much for E3 to handle, and it couldn’t pivot quickly enough to recover.
Is E3 dead?
E3 2023 was meant to be the redemption of the event, after suffering heavily through Covid-19 lockdowns and cancelling the event twice. This might be E3’s finishing blow.
But bigger industry changes have more than likely fueled its downfall, as Summer Game Fest is still going on full-speed ahead with seemingly no problems. Most likely it’s the cost and style of the event that companies have decided to skip, with the influence of games such as Valheim managing to achieve huge success without any blockbuster advertising.
AAA companies are realising the power of social media advertising, and UGC-led creator promotions, rather than relying on CES-style events. As Gamesindustry.biz states, “economic headwinds have caused several companies to reassess how they invest in large marketing events. And companies are starting to experiment with how to find the right balance between in-person events and digital marketing opportunities.”
This is E3’s third cancellation. After this, E3 may be dead forever. However, ESA (the company that own E3) have stated that they will be back for 2024.
No gaming event has ever reached the previous heights of E3, in 2019 reaching 60,000 attendees, so perhaps there is something to salvage. But it will need to make a serious change, as if 2024’s event even happens, there will need to be a huge rebrand and rework of the event.