It is reported that the Entertainment Software Association is set to call off its three-day video game expo E3.
Today (11 March), a number of reports have suggested that Los Angeles video game conference E3 is set to be called off due to health concerns associated with the spread of Covid-19.
Both Ars Technica and Bloomberg said that the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which hosts the annual video game trade show, will soon make an official announcement regarding the cancellation of the event.
An announcement is due to be made this afternoon, according to Bloomberg. According to the publication, the ESA wrote a private memo to partners earlier this week suggesting that it was “exploring options for an online E3 event this summer”.
‘Monitoring and evaluating the situation daily’
In 2019, E3 attracted around 66,000 attendees and was expected to draw similar numbers this year, despite early cancellations from major games companies such as Sony and EA.
In February, the ESA published an update on Covid-19, in which the organisation said that it was “monitoring and evaluating the situation daily” to decide whether or not the three-day event scheduled for June would go ahead.
Before any official statement was made by ESA, a number of tweets suggesting that the event was at risk of being cancelled began to circulate. Earlier today, games publisher Devolver Digital tweeted: “Cancel your E3 flights and hotels, y’all.”
Cancel your E3 flights and hotels, y’all.
— Devolver Digital (@devolverdigital) March 11, 2020
Jason Schreier, news editor of video game news website Kotaku, tweeted: “Heard from two people that E3 cancellation will be announced tomorrow AM (both second-hand), and one person [with] ESA ties who insists that it won’t be. Normally I sit on conflicting info until I sort out what’s true, but with E3 rumours now everywhere, figured I’d be transparent here.”
Schreier added that “whether or not it’s announce tomorrow morning, it’s only a matter of time before E3 is officially cancelled”.
But, again, whether or not it's announced tomorrow morning, it's only a matter of time before E3 is officially cancelled. Publishers can't afford to wait much longer to make their plans, and all signs point to the virus getting way worse in the U.S. before it gets better
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) March 11, 2020
Ars Technica did not receive any response after reaching out to the ESA for comment on the potential cancellation.
A number of other major events have already been axed, postponed or moved online due to coronavirus concerns, including Facebook’s F8 conference, the Game Developers Conference, Mobile World Congress, Google’s I/O conference and SXSW, among other events.