Update: A newly published report from IGN casts doubt on whether E3 will happen at all in 2022.
The ESA initially shared a statement with GamesBeat confirming that E3 won't be an in-person even this year due to concerns around the pandemic. GamesBeat also reported that there will be an online-only replacement, but a somewhat conflicting report from IGN claims that a digital show isn't certain. The ESA reportedly sent a follow-up statement to IGN that says the company can't confirm whether E3 2022 will be a digital show like it was in 2021.
Original story follows...
E3 2022 will be an online-only event due to the ongoing pandemic, according to a statement from the ESA.
As reported by GamesBeat, the ESA cites the health risks associated with mass indoor gatherings as the primary reason for making E3 a virtual event for the second year in a row. Late last year, a return to live events in the near future seemed plausible - in some cases, it had already begun - but sadly things are a little different now.
The highly contagious Omicron variant was first detected in the US in early December and is now responsible for an explosion in COVID-19 cases. It would seem that the latest twist in the pandemic's unpredictable trajectory is what prompted the ESA to hold off on an in-person event, though the ESA never mentions omicron directly.
"Due to the ongoing health risks surrounding COVID-19 and its potential impact on the safety of exhibitors and attendees, E3 will not be held in person in 2022," reads the ESA's statement. "We remain incredibly excited about the future of E3 and look forward to announcing more details soon."
This marks the third year in a row that the biggest event in gaming has been disrupted in some way by the pandemic. In 2020, it was canceled altogether, while 2021 saw the return of E3 as an online-only show. According to comments from Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti last summer, E3 2022 was originally going to be an in-person event, but the ESA has since reconsidered.