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Game companies scramble to make new plans after coronavirus cancels E3

Companies, from Nintendo to Devolver Digital, scramble to adjust

With the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) canceled due to the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, game companies are scrambling to make new plans. While the Electronic Software Association, which hosts the event, is looking into “an online experience” for the week in June when the conference was set to take place, any in-person plans must be rearranged.

The yearly gaming expo was set to take place in Los Angeles from June 9-11, and the sudden cancellation of E3 delivered a shake-up as many top gaming companies (with the exception of Sony, which was not going to attend for the second year in a row) had presentations planned.

With the gaming world in a state of disarray, here’s a list of all the companies that have announced E3 2020 contingency plans.

Microsoft Xbox

While Xbox won’t be able to put on its yearly press conference in Los Angeles, the company is still looking to hold some sort of livestreamed presentation. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer previously announced that the company will hold what it’s calling an “Xbox digital event” to inform gamers of its upcoming Xbox Series X console that’s set later this year. No date or time frame has been announced just yet, but an update can be expected “in the coming weeks” from the console maker.

“E3 has always been an important moment for Team Xbox,” said Spencer. “Given this decision, this year we’ll celebrate the next generation of gaming with the Xbox community and all who love to play via an Xbox digital event. Details on timing and more in the coming weeks.”


The house of Mario was set to attend E3 2020, but it stopped holding traditional press conferences back in 2012. Instead, the Japanese company releases prerecorded videos filled with announcements called Nintendo Directs. It’s unknown if there will be a Nintendo Direct in June, but the company is “considering various ways to engage with our fans” and will share more information later this year.

“Nintendo supports the ESA’s decision to cancel this year’s E3 to help protect the health and safety of everyone in our industry — our fans, our employees, our exhibitor,s and our longtime E3 partners,” the company said in a statement. “We would like to express our concern and support for all those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak during this challenging time.

“We’ll continue to be flexible and redirect our efforts to other ways of keeping our fans up to date about our activities and products. Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, large industry events may be untenable for the foreseeable future. But we are considering various ways to engage with our fans and will have more to share as the year continues.”


Like Microsoft, Ubisoft will be looking to put on a digital showcase for fans in place of its traditional press conference. The Assassin’s Creed publisher doesn’t have any concrete plans just yet but told fans to stay tuned for an update on what it will have to offer.

“The health and well-being of teams, players and partners is our top priority, so while we’re disappointed, we fully support the ESA’s decision to cancel E3 2020. E3 is and will continue to be a moment where we come together as a community and share our love of games. We’re exploring other options for a digital experience that will allow us to share all the exciting news we have planned, stay tuned for more!” the French publisher wrote on social media.

Electronic Software Association

E3 organizer ESA announced that it is currently “exploring options with our members to coordinate an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020.” Any additional updates will be posted on its website in the coming months. With no names attached and no date set, it’s unknown if the publishers that traditionally hold E3-associated press conferences will participate or go their own way.

Devolver Digital

Despite showing off its games in an adjacent parking lot rather than on the show floor, Devolver Digital’s eccentric press conferences are an E3 staple. The indie publisher will look to continue that trend despite the cancellation of the trade show.

“The week of E3 has always been a big part of what we do and are genuinely bummed about the cancellation of the event itself,” wrote the company on Twitter. “Lots to juggle but right now we plan on having a livestream Devolver Direct/press conference and possibly more.”

Limited Run Games

Game preservation outfit Limited Run Games will go forward with its planned press conference. The publisher announced that its third annual stream will take place at 3 p.m. ET on June 8 on its Twitch channel. As in previous years, gamers can expect a mix of retro and recently released titles to get a new physical release.

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