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E3 is officially gone for good

It’s all about gamescom and Keighley now
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E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is officially dead. Once held annually as the world’s most important and biggest video games convention, the event is now gone for good after a streak of cancellations in the last couple of years.

“After more than two decades of E3, each one bigger than the last, the time has come to say goodbye. Thanks for the memories,” a message depicted on the event’s website states.

E3 goodbye message.

The goodbye message displayed on the E3 website.

Stanley Pierre-Louis, the president of E3 organizer ESA, told the Washington Post: “We know the entire industry, players and creators alike, have a lot of passion for E3. We share that passion. 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.”

E3 was last held in 2019 as an in-person event, since E3 2020 fell victim to COVID-19 and the planned comeback after the pandemic in 2023 didn’t find enough takers among publishers and developers. Digital E3s were planned for 2021 and 2022, though only the 2021 version actually materialized, making it the final event held under the banner.

Of course, the convention was already in decline by 2019 due to publishers leaving the event behind in droves after Sony famously pulled out of the 2018 edition.

During the pandemic, publishers and developers had to find other ways of reaching players and found them in self-organized online showcases as well as Geoff Keighley’s digital events. When faced with the decision of returning to the status quo, which would have meant giving up control over their information flow as well as paying for expensive showfloor appearances, or sticking to a new formula that was obviously working, most publishers chose to drop E3.

It seems like the American event failed to consider the rapid evolution of the industry in those years and come up with a place for itself in that changed ecosystem. Other events fared a lot better: Germany’s gamecom, which is traditionally held in August each year, drew attendees in record numbers in 2023, bringing huge names like Nintendo and Microsoft to the convention. Geoff Keighley has also been closely working with gamescom, hosting a showcase to open the convention as a sort of hybrid format bringing together tradition and the post-pandemic industry.