Now that the E3 2020 canceled news is official, a lot of questions have sprung up. What will replace it this year? Does the show have a future? How will next-gen reveals now be covered? The GamesRadar team has popped down their instant reactions to the news and the ramifications it could have for the event, and industry as a whole.
"The idea that it's not happening this year changes the landscape of gaming" – Sam Loveridge
E3 has always felt like the cornerstone of the games industry. It might stand in the middle of the year, but it sets the agenda for the rest of the year, lining up game-shaped dominoes to be lined up and knocked out over the next 12 months. It's a wealth of excitement, a week of announcements galore, and a time to celebrate the diversity and intricacies of our industry. The biggest names in gaming bounce off each other, press conferences bring news, trailers and surprises, and keep reminding us how lucky we are to have video games in our lives.
The idea that it's not happening this year changes the landscape of gaming - especially in this, a pivotal year. Will developers still stay within the confines of existing dates to keep the spirit of E3 alive? Or will everyone go rogue? Without E3, the way the gaming year looks will change forever. Especially if we think that it might never happen again. Sam Loveridge (Global Editor-in-Chief)
"The writing has been on the wall for a while now" – Josh West
The writing has been on the wall for a while now. With E3 2020 postponed, the death knell has been sounded for the video game industry's most prominent trade show. I can't say that I'm surprised, although I am disappointed. Whether you have your boots on the ground or are merely following it from afar, there's always some fun to be found in the pageantry of it all – in the stage shows and the new announcements, the meme-ready gaffs and fresh looks at the biggest upcoming releases. With E3 out of commission, it almost feels as if the beating heart has been ripped out of the industry; whether the next generation can gain momentum without a week of condensed and sustained fever-pitch excitement remains to be seen. Josh West (Features Editor)
"E3 has always been about the games community" – Heather Wald
To me, E3 has always been about the games community - it brings the industry together to celebrate the most exciting upcoming releases and innovations. When I was first trying to get into the industry years ago, I always dreamed of going some day. The one memory that will always stay with me was back in 2014, when a new Dragon Age: Inquisition trailer debuted with a live violinist. It gave me chills and the feeling it left in my heart made me more determined than ever to one day sit in the audience at E3 and see reveals like that in person. Sadly, it's not what it once was, and with the cancellation this year, I fear it never will be again - especially when you consider the doxxing last year. Heather Wald (Staff Writer)
"I'm just a bit sad, to be honest" – Ellen Causey
I'm just a bit sad, to be honest! I found out I got my job at GamesRadar just before last year's E3, so when I watched the streams I was trying to get my head around the idea that I might be going to the next one (and, as it turns out, I would have been!) I feel like I'm owed a Keanu Reeves breathtaking moment.
It’s also sad because going to conventions, meeting developers, hearing them talk about their upcoming games and spending time with members of the GR team that work in other offices, in other countries, is a real highlight of my job. I really hope this isn’t the end! Ellen Causey (Video Producer)
"One big event might become a series of mini-events" - Ben Tyrer
E3's cancelation could well mark shift in how publishers interact with the public. In truth, the industry has been examining E3's role for a while now. Sony pulling out in 2019 was, and remains, massive, but publishers have been holding more and more events with the public — XO19 and PlayStation Experience remain the biggest examples — which allows them to communicate directly with players. Similarly, Nintendo Direct, Inside Xbox, and State of Play have all allowed the major console makers to communicate news with their audience, creating pockets of buzz throughout the year.
E3, for all it's allure, doesn't have the public numbers of Gamescom or the stardust it once did as news slowly trickled out of the event. Personally, I hope it does come back, as it felt like gaming christmas growing up, but it's also not hard to see how this one big event might become a series of mini-events. Ben Tyrer (News Editor)
"Cancelling E3 is a real shame for the developers" – Iain Wilson
Having never attended E3 in person, my main experience of the show has usually been watching flashy press conferences in the middle of the night and occasionally creating short-lived memes while in a sleep-deprived delirium. Cancelling E3 is a real shame for the developers preparing to show off their creations, especially the smaller indies who are potentially losing a place on a global platform here. For the big guns, I think we can expect Nintendo Direct style online presentations during the scheduled E3 week, so stock up on the popcorn (and energy drinks) and hopefully we'll still get plenty of surprises… and a proper look at a new console or two? *crosses fingers* Iain Wilson (Guides Editor)
"Likely spells the end of E3 as we know it" – Alex Avard
For me, the worst part about this cancellation is that it likely spells the end of E3 as we know it. Publishers will resort to Nintendo Direct-style livestreams, subsequently realise there's never been any real monetary value in their physical attendance to the expo, and will likely withdraw from attending on a permanent basis. For some, that will come as good news, but I've never been a fan of the growing movement to moan about E3, and actively root for its demise. Sure, there may be an element of fatigue among the crowd that's been around for every convention since the show's beginning, but there's a whole generation who - if E3 2019 really does end up being the last one - have only just begun to appreciate its magic, but now will simply have to make do with what's left of its memories. That, as far as I'm concerned, is nothing less than a damn shame, and I'll be pressing F to pay my respects this summer. Alex Avard (Features Writer)
"I don't think E3 will come back stronger next year" – Ford James
For the last decade, E3 has always been one of the highlights of my summer. I've never attended in person, but staying up late or waking up in the middle of the night to watch the games industry reveal what they've been working on has been a joy, made even more thrilling by surprise reveal like Keanu featuring in Cyberpunk 2077 and Bethesda announcing Fallout 4 – most notably that it'd be released that same year. It was always my dream to attend an E3 event, yet after Sony pulling out from the show last year, the enormous press data leak from the ESA, and even more publishers announcing their withdrawal this year, cancelling the event thanks to COVID-19 feels like the final nail in the coffin. I don't think E3 will come back stronger next year – publishers and press alike will favour smaller, individual events and thus my dream will be over. It's been nice knowing ya, E3. Ford James (Guides Writer)
"I fully support the decision to cancel E3" - Alyssa Mercante
I've never been to an E3 and wasn't scheduled to go this year, but as an unabashed communicable disease obsessive, we need to make sure we flatten the coronavirus curve, and sadly that means cancelling large gatherings (among other things). This shit is just too damn contagious, and we can't take any chances, so I fully support the decision to cancel E3. It's not like the show hasn't suffered as of late (even before the coronavirus outbreak), and I think we can look at this cancellation as a chance for E3 and other conferences to rethink approaches to the Big Game Reveal and large events in general. It's time to get creative! While I agree that nothing will compare to a roomful of people reacting to a Keanu Kameo or a Resi Remake, there are ways to drum up hype that don't involve bringing everyone in games together for one weekend that we all stress out over. That could be the E3 FOMO talking, though. Alyssa Mercante (Editor)
"E3 was one of the reasons I got into this industry" - Benjamin Abbott
It's not an exaggeration to say that E3 was one of the reasons I got into this industry. The buzz, hype, and community spirit surrounding it was a highlight of my summer, and - like so many others - I dreamed of covering the event one day. After Sony's withdrawal from the event, last year's doxxing, and now this, I'm starting to wonder whether I've missed the boat. That seriously bums me out. Benjamin Abbott (Hardware Writer)
"I’m honestly a bit conflicted about E3" - Leon Hurley
I’m honestly a bit conflicted about E3. It’s an amazing spectacle each year. All those games, all that stuff happening, it’s exciting as all hell. I always remember the 2016 E3 where Sony had its incredible show that revealed God of War, Days Gone, and games like Resident Evil 7 and more were announced at the main show. It was incredible, with so much buzz and stuff to talk about. But, at the same time, it’s such an inefficient way to do stuff - asking all the big publishers to wait for three days in the middle of the year to say what they're doing is crazy. Cancelling this year is sad but it will be an interesting test for how studios and the industry at large handle not being locked into a single, short physical event. The bigger question is probably what will they do next year once we know how this plays out. Leon Hurley (Guides Co-Ordinator)
"This might open up some publishers eyes to the money they can save" – James Jarvis
Looking at the big picture E3 being cancelled is a good thing. Last year was especially tough for all the exhibitors as they entered the difficult holding stage between this and next-gen. No-one could really talk about anything until Sony and Microsoft made their moves and that didn't happen. It still hasn't really. There's a real chance that will happen again this year as well - if those machines fall foul to production line closures. So what will E3 become? For this year at least, it'll go digital. The major players will still undoubtedly hold some sort of press conference and probably at the same and on the same days as they've been planning for. But going forward this might open up some publishers eyes to the money they can save by just having a digital event. And if they're doing that then just from a marketing perspective they're not going to want those events in the same week as anyone else's. So we might lose E3 but gain a lot more smaller events spread out throughout the year. I can see a time where each publisher has their own 'day' in the year for their show. Which means we'll get a constant stream of small presents rather than them all at videogames Christmas. As someone who tries to drag their birthday out for a as as possible I'm all for this. I will miss moments like Keanu Reeves walking on the stage and seeing someone (Rachel) visibly swoon though. James Jarvis (Head of UK Video Operations)
"You try getting people to celebrate a birthday week when they have seventeen appointments the next day" - Rachel Weber
I have more reason than most to take some pleasure from the cancellation of E3 - a massive event that means my dearest friends and beloved life partner are all working crazy hours, either in LA or in the office - because it always falls on or around my birthday. You try getting people to celebrate a birthday week when they have seventeen appointments the next day, or have been up till 3am covering the PlayStation press conference. Now that it looks like it really is canceled though, I just feel sad. For all its troubles the show was the blazing sun around which the gaming year revolves, the time when you could be guaranteed surprises - KEANU BLOODY REEVES PEOPLE - and massive reveals. I know that all the major attendees will make sure their marketing departments are planning big virtual showcases, but it just won't be the same as sitting, sweaty and sunburned, enjoying the thrill of the new surrounded by my best friends. Rachel Weber
"The show has only gotten weaker in the past few years" - Bradley Russell
I've always enjoyed the hype of E3. It's the biggest week for the biggest announcements, gaming's annual mecca, a massive marquee for the year (or generation) ahead. I've covered E3 remotely for years, and I've spent plenty more E3s on a couch with friends just basking in the news. It's fun! That said, I'm excited to see what the industry does without E3. The show has only gotten weaker in the past few years, and while that's partly down to the console generation winding down, it's also a function of declining publisher and player interest.
Meanwhile, individual platforms like Nintendo Direct have exploded. Sony's State of Play is still trailing in terms of format and popularity, but there's potential for more publishers - or at least the big three console manufacturers - to hold their own little E3 on their own terms. I'm just in it for the news. I don't really care if we get it from E3 or from a dozen standalone, often more in-depth streams representing E3-lite (which presumably won't result in the doxxing of several thousand journalists and content creators, but I digress). Austin Wood (Staff Writer)
"Xbox were on a roll with Keanu last year so it's a shame to not see how they would have topped that" - Rob Dwiar
Half of me sighs and shrugs, the other half of me feels quite sad due to the inevitableness of it all; and now the tangible hole left in 2020's calendar. E3's general direction of travel me feel like the best days of E3 might be gone, given the growing list of absentees. However, it definitely would have been awesome to witness one that had a brand new console launch. Xbox were on a roll with Keanu last year so it's a shame to not see how they would have topped that, embraced the hardware monopoly and done it all in front of a live crowd. That being said, public health comes first. Maybe a silver lining will come in the form of the industry finding more unusual and inventive ways of launching or promoting their hardware and games this year? Rob Dwiar (Staff Writer, Hardware)