Nintendo, Xbox, and Sony are skipping E3 2023 - but most of us probably won't even notice

E3 2023 dates
(Image credit: ESA/ReedPop)

E3 2023 will go ahead without the Big Three. Last night, IGN reported that Xbox, Nintendo, and Sony wouldn't be part of this year's show, which is returning to its physical form after a pandemic era that saw the conference cancelled twice, in 2020 and 2022 (with an online-only event having run in 2021). IGN's report states that none of the three companies, which between them constitute the driving force of the entire industry, will "be part of E3 2023 or have a presence on the Los Angeles Convention showfloor."

Within the industry, the reaction has largely been one of resignation. Nintendo and Sony were already scaling back their involvement in the show - Nintendo's physical presence has long been limited to the show floor, with its digital Direct format taking centre-stage; while Sony has steadily followed suit, announcing in 2018 that it was seeking other opportunities, leading to a year-round array of State of Play broadcasts instead. In terms of the attendance of its major players, E3 has been on the back foot for years.

And in that time, its competitors have been on the up. Not only does E3 have to exist within a minefield of Nintendo Directs, Sony State of Plays, and now even Xbox's Developer_Direct, but it also has to contend with more far-flung alternatives. Lovely as it is, the Wholesome Direct is unlikely to challenge for the throne, but Geoff Keighley's Summer Games Fest has certainly stepped into the void that E3 has left via its recent absences. The summer conference season now runs, in essence, from June to September, with challengers from all over attempting to take their piece of the pie.

All Summer Long

But in spite of all Those Who Would Be King, the vast majority of us are unlikely to notice any significant change. Xbox has already committed to a show in Los Angeles, with Phil Spencer telling IGN that the company is aiming to ensure its timing is convenient for E3 organisers and attendees. Nintendo hasn't hosted a live show in years, and while its absence from the show floor will be felt by those who attend the conference in person, the company is likely to host a Direct in the first half of June, as it's done several times over the past few years. Sony is likely to follow suit with a State of Play. Even Summer Games Fest, a show positioned deliberately to draw as much oxygen away from E3 as possible, is therefore forced to host its event at the same time as all the other shows that have traditionally made up E3. The pull that the E3 name has is so significant that even last year, when the show didn't go ahead at all, the collection of trade shows at the start of June was still referred to as 'not-E3'.

This is all to say that for the vast majority of fans, E3 2023 will feel exactly the same as it ever did, with a suite of pre-conference developer presentations paving the way for an in-person event in Los Angeles that the vast majority of those who enjoy E3 won't experience. If you were planning on being in LA in mid-June, you probably won't get to play The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, or Marvel's Spider-Man 2, or Starfield, and will have to settle for the hundreds or thousands of other games on show instead. And if you weren't planning a trip to California, it will probably feel as though nothing has changed at all.

Get a load of the new games 2023 we might see at this summer's shows.

Ali Jones
News Editor

I'm GamesRadar's news editor, working with the team to deliver breaking news from across the industry. I started my journalistic career while getting my degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick, where I also worked as Games Editor on the student newspaper, The Boar. Since then, I've run the news sections at PCGamesN and Kotaku UK, and also regularly contributed to PC Gamer. As you might be able to tell, PC is my platform of choice, so you can regularly find me playing League of Legends or Steam's latest indie hit.