online e3 2020 digital event

Report: ESA Failed to Pull Together an Online E3 2020 Digital Event, Announcement Next Week

E3 2020 has been canceled… again. Reports indicate that despite trying to organize some kind of online event in the wake of the physical show’s cancellation, a digital E3 2020 has failed to materialize for the ESA. The news comes from Mike Futter of the Virtual Economy Podcast who says that four independent sources have confirmed the report. He also says that an announcement is expected “early next week.”

The ESA was forced to cancel E3 2020 back on March 11 as the coronavirus pandemic continued—and still continues—its spread. In the announcement for the cancellation, the ESA said “We are also exploring options with our members to coordinate an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020,” but it now appears that attempts to make that happen have dissolved. It’s unclear exactly what kinds of talks were taking place or why the ESA was unable to put something together, but E3 2020 had already faced myriad problems before COVID-19 ultimately forced the show to cancel.

There were problems last year as a leaked document told of changes incoming to appeal more to influencers and consumers. A security breach leaked thousands of attendees’ private information. In early 2020, Sony dropped out of the show for the second year in a row, and multiple other notable names pulled participation—including Geoff Keighley and former creative directors iam8bit. E3 2020 was already reeling and in dire straights without a pandemic to complicate things.

Futter also mentions that the ESA plans to leverage and “lean on its publisher and developer partners” in place of holding a cohesive online E3 event, but how exactly that will materialize has yet to be detailed. Perhaps “E3 week” will still be a thing, allowing pubs and devs to independently announce and showcase things that week, however, without the umbrella of E3 itself, announcements will be disparate. It’s likely many companies are questioning the importance of the dedicated E3 event for their marketing plans and simply finding internal ways to market their games on their own schedules, which would show why a digital E3 2020 event never came together.

Either way, it’s expected that we’ll hear more about the ESA’s E3 2020 digital plans—or rather, lack thereof—next week. If you want more insight into the business decisions that likely factored into this report, not to mention a great inside look at the business of video games all around, don’t miss the Virtual Economy Podcast. Hosts Mike Futter and Amanda Farough plan on talking about the report on today’s show which is currently recording and might already be released by the time you read this.

Update: Here’s the podcast episode discussing the report.

You can follow Virtual Economy Podcast on Twitter @VirtualEconCast and catch a new episode every weekday on all of your favorite podcast platforms.

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