In a statement issued to Video Games Chronicle, Ubisoft said: “while we initially intended to have an official E3 presence, we’ve made the subsequent decision to move in a different direction, and will be holding a Ubisoft Forward Live event on 12th June in Los Angeles. We look forward to sharing more details with our players very soon.”
This is a huge hit for E3, as Ubisoft was one of the last major companies to be still holding on, and the fact that Ubisoft had given E3 the false hope of previously confirming attendance makes it particularly brutal.
What now for E3 2023?
Ubisoft’s cancellation might be the final nail in the coffin. With only three months until E3 2023, there are now no major companies attending their event. And to really twist the knife, Ubisoft will be at Summer Game Fest, announced straight after their E3 snub.
The sudden change is most likely a realisation that paying to be at E3 is not going to have the same exposure as it did before, in fact, a lot less. And with some smart exposure from events like Summer Game Fest with a combination of social media marketing, companies can easily spread the word about their games. Gaming is often spread by word-of-mouth too, so huge events aren’t really necessary.
AAA titles are looking at indie games now, to see how they’re making a success with just a fraction of the budget, and E3 might be a casualty of that. E3 2023 is most likely looking to be called off for good, and after several rocky years, this could be the end of E3 as we know it.
A glimmer of hope?
But there is a small amount of hope. E3 spoke about the attendance of “indie darlings” at the event. With the success of many early access games in recent years, such as Valheim, E3 could be the next host of a game that reaches that level of success. AAA titles have historically dominated these events, so perhaps with the big players gone, smaller and newer companies will be allowed to thrive.
After all, E3 was founded on such a sentiment, parting ways from CES due to video games companies being unnoticed. As Tom Kalinske, the CEO of Sega America remarked: “The CES organizers used to put the video game industry way, way in the back.”
E3 could position itself in this way, and stay relevant, perhaps even thriving in the future from the downfall of AAA titles. An update is likely to come soon.