The world’s biggest gaming conference, E3, has been canceled this year due to the global outbreak of coronavirus, officially called COVID-19. But plans are already underway for next year’s event, E3 2021, according to the event’s organizers.
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the body which runs the E3 events, has announced that it is planning a “reimagined” E3 for 2021, as reported by gamesindustry.biz. The ESA also confirmed that the event would be scheduled for June 15 to June 17, 2021.
The ESA announced last month that it would cancel E3 2020 due to concerns about spreading the coronavirus. With so many people pressed into an enclosed space, such conferences have the potential for spreading infections very quickly. At the time, the ESA said, “Following increased and overwhelming concerns about the COVID-19 virus, we felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation. We are very disappointed that we are unable to hold this event for our fans and supporters. But we know it’s the right decision based on the information we have today.”
Instead of presenting in person at E3 2020, many gaming companies said that they would host digital events or put out pre-recorded videos of launch content. Publishers like Ubisoft have said they are exploring options for online-only events as a way to share their latest news without anyone having to attend an in-person event.
However, as of yet there are no officially announced plans for an E3 2020 online event. It may be that exhibitors are left to present their material to fans and to the press on their own, or there may be some degree of coordination so exhibitors can release their content at the same time during June 2020.
The coronavirus outbreak is having a ripple effect throughout the gaming industry, causing everything from the canceling of events like E3 and the Game Developers Conference to production delays in hardware like the Nintendo Switch or Value Index, to the canceling of e-sports events for Overwatch League and Call of Duty league. The latest gaming project to be affected is The Last of Us Part II, which has been delayed indefinitely along with the much anticipated Marvel’s Iron Man VR.
- Microsoft switching to digital events until at least July 2021
- EA Play Live returns for an all-digital event next month
- Game companies scramble to make new plans after coronavirus cancels E3
- GDC Summer event will be online-only this August
- Game Developers Conference moves to August — if COVID-19 is no longer a factor