For many years, E3 has been a permanent fixture on the gaming calendar. It’s the biggest event in the entire industry, and one where all the major announcements get made, whether they be new console reveals or trailers for major triple A games like Super Mario Odyssey.
However, it seems things are changing in 2020. Why? Because as the title suggests, the 2020 show has been officially cancelled due to the current coronavirus situation. Here’s the announcement about it from the official Twitter account:
The E3 team is devastated to share this news. This decision was not reached lightly, but it is the right one for the health and safety of all involved. Read our statement here: https://t.co/1uOWxTerN9 pic.twitter.com/gD2IxNACLX
— E3 (@E3) March 11, 2020
It’s an understandable decision, and perhaps the wisest course of action given what’s going on at the moment.
However, it’s also one that could have lasting effects on the industry as we know it as well. Why is that? Because both E3 and gaming trade shows/conferences are on shaky ground to begin with.
Which is due to the idea not really making all that much sense in this day and age. The idea that you need to give out info about your products in a highly coveted event in some random city just does not hold true in a society so heavily dominated by the internet.
And the industry knows this. It’s why so many of them have followed the Nintendo Direct path when it comes to releasing information. They realise that for much less money than an event booth, they can just put a video up online with the same announcements and cut the middleman out.
So why use events for this when you can do it yourself? Or rely on media coverage of said events when the relevant trailers and footage can be distributed on YouTube?
There isn’t a reason. It’s just tradition.
Hence not only is E3 2020’s cancellation not going to have that much of an effect on the industry this year, it may well speed up the shift to digital events in future too. Companies who’d otherwise be under pressure to attend will setup their own information sharing infrastructure, and then find no reason to return for next year’s event.
Of course, even that last point is on shaky ground right now. E3 has become a controversial event in its own right, especially due to the massive personal info leaks that happened last year.
And this in turn already cut into E3’s popularity before coronavirus ever became a worry. Companies like Sony and EA had already dropped out well before this point, and they weren’t exactly the only ones to have done so.
So this year’s event cancellation might be the final nail in the coffin for the whole thing. The point in which E3 went from merely losing relevance to being outright consigned to history.
As well as the turning point for a whole industry.
However, what do you think? Are you disappointed to hear that E3 won’t be happening this year? Or do you feel that more companies will head down the Nintendo Direct route in future?
Tell us your thoughts in the comments below, or over at the Gaming Latest forums today!