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E3 might actually be dead this time, unfortunately

The organizer of E3 has officially called the time of death: Today.

Image: Entertainment Software Association (ESA)
Image: Entertainment Software Association (ESA)

When it comes to gaming events, there has been no other that stood out from the crowd in the same way the E3 did. So, seeing the official death of E3 today likely has left a void in the hearts of a ton of gamers.

Announced via their official social media channels like X (formerly Twitter), a simple, somber message was left reading “After more than two decades of E3, each one bigger than the last, the time has come to say goodbye. Thanks for the memories.”

Over the past few years, E3 has had a rough time getting traction after the COVID-19 pandemic. Each year, the long-running physical show kept being a non-starter. While some speculate that the 2020 pandemic is what directly killed E3 or maybe it was Geoff Keighley’s yearly Summer Games Fest, the answer is likely more nuanced than just having a single reason behind it.

The digital age has not been kind to big physical events as it is, with big publishers like Nintendo or Sony slowly pulling out of spending so much money, both on a physical booth and travel expenses, over the past decade. Why do that when they could just pop an in-studio recorded Nintendo Direct onto YouTube and move on?

So, having a worldwide pandemic and cheaper options for publishers in recent years, as well as their recent organizing partner (ReedPop) pulling out this year, likely contributed to the show's induced coma and eventual death.

But, no matter what the reasoning is, E3 has a special place in most gamers’ hearts and will be missed. Since its inception in 1995, E3 has outlasted other big events, such as the E For All Expo, and continued being the sounding board for publishers and developers to make big summer announcements.

Talking to The Washington Post, Stanley Pierre-Louis, president and CEO of the ESA, talked about the show a bit and how he knows how much people will miss it:

“We know the entire industry, players and creators alike have a lot of passion for E3. We share that passion,” Pierre-Louis said. “We know it’s difficult to say goodbye to such a beloved event, but it’s the right thing to do given the new opportunities our industry has to reach fans and partners.”

As E3 was the big yearly event that everyday people expected publishers to make their yearly announcements, there seems to now be a power vacuum. 

With The Game Awards having more announcements than focus on the actual awards in recent years, there’s always a chance that Keighley’s Summer Games Fest which he already runs, yearly during the summer, could eventually turn into a physical event.

Maybe one of the PAX events run by Penny Arcade or the German-based (and Keighley-hosted) Gamescom could step up to the plate. But, that’s all just speculation.

In any case, E3 is dead, long live E3. Despite its problems over the years, we will all truly miss what E3 stood for to so many gamers.

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