We learned this week that 2022 will be the second year since 1995 to not have any kind of E3 expo. While the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) says E3’s physical and digital cancelation this year enables it to “devote all our energy and resources to delivering a revitalized physical and digital E3 experience next summer,” it also raises questions regarding how game announcements will happen this summer. Companies like Microsoft and Nintendo often tie big reveals to E3, so what is the industry’s plan now that E3 2022 is officially canceled?
So far, we only know of a couple of events that will take place, though there’s still time for a lot more to be announced. For those wondering how E3 2022’s cancelation will impact summer 2022’s game reveal landscape, we’ve broken down everything that is and isn’t happening — and that might happen — in the coming months.
E3’s absence leaves a crater in the usual gaming hype cycle. Typically, the yearly event took place for a week in Los Angeles and served as a spot where game publishers could announce and advertise their upcoming slates of titles and game-related products. In 2020, the ESA canceled the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it returned digitally in 2021 with mixed results.
On March 31, the event organizers at the ESA confirmed that there would be no digital or physical E3 event this year. That was quite surprising as more and more in-person events are returning, and the ESA even demonstrated that it could hold the event digitally before. The event may return in 2023, but this year the E3 event that typically consolidates many gaming announcements to one week in June won’t play out like normal.
Outside of E3, we also know that EA won’t hold its yearly EA Play Live event this summer. Typically, the publisher has its own events outside of E3, but chose not to this year because “this year things aren’t lining up to show you everything on one date.” That means that if we get new information on titles like the Dead Space remake or the next Dragon Age and Mass Effect, it won’t be at an E3-adjacent event.
There are still some major gaming events that will take place this summer. This June, the biggest one is Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest. The creator of The Game Awards plans to hold a Summer Game Fest Kickoff Livestream full of new trailers and announcements. Last year’s event featured the release date of Elden Ring, so there are certainly high expectations surrounding the showcase, especially as E3 won’t be drawing away any reveals. An indie-focused Day of the Devs presentation and other Summer Game Fest-branded events are also expected to take place this June. Keighley tweeted that Summer Game Fest festivities “will be less than one month this year.”
IGN confirmed that its Summer of Gaming event would also take place in June and feature exclusive trailers, gameplay, and interviews. Bethesda has also teased that it will show Starfield this summer, and we’re supposed to get another look at Final Fantasy XVI soon.
As for in-person events, a couple of them are happening later in the summer. Gamescom, a European gaming expo equivalent to E3, will happen in person in Cologne, Germany. In Japan, the Tokyo Game Show will be the final big in-person summer event between September 15 and 18. While E3 might not be happening, it’s clear that some digital showcases will happen this summer and that events outside of America are still on track to take place in person.
Digital Trends reached out to multiple publishers for comment on their plans now that E3 2022 is canceled. We only got one response, and it was Devolver Digital sending us an upside-down face emoji, so the current event schedule outside of major events like Summer Game Fest and Gamescom is clearly quite nebulous.
Reached out to Devolver Digital to ask how E3's cancellation would effect its summer plans (like its infamous E3 showcase), and its 100% official statement is "🙃"— Giovanni Colantonio (@MarioPrime) March 31, 2022
Although they haven’t announced anything officially, it seems likely that companies like Microsoft, Square Enix, and Nintendo will still hold presentations this summer if they have things to promote. Sony is also a wild card that hasn’t been connected to E3 since 2018, so it could also hold an event around then. We have no idea how close to each other these shows will take place.
If 2022 plays out anything like 2020, expect the whole summer, not just June, to contain lots of exciting gaming events. E3 2021 was a disjointed and sloppy event, but the return to form for industry announcements was refreshing after a challenging 2020. Now, the industry will either rally around Summer Game Fest or spread out once again.
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