E3 2020, set once again to rank as the most visible video game trade show in North America, just joined the growing list of shows and events canceled over the global coronavirus pandemic.
Microsoft, Electronic Arts, and Ubisoft are among the video game publishers who turned to Twitter to react to the cancellation.
And it’s not just the big names in the video game industry who are reflecting on how the cancellation of E3 2020 will affect them. Small independent publishers are also making their voices heard on the social media platform.
Check out our E3 2020 FAQ for all the answers to frequently asked questions.
What is E3, and what was planned for E3 2020?
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) owns E3. The organization focuses on helping companies who develop and publish all types of video game products.
E3 2020 was set to welcome gamers as well as video game businesses, the media, and analysts from more than 100 different companies to the annual event, initially planned for June 9-11, 2020, at the Los Angeles Convention Center in California.
The schedule included new technologies, product introductions, and a chance for gamers to interact with companies ranging from Amazon Game Studios to Nintendo to Ubisoft, Warner Brothers Games, and Xbox.
Why and when was E3 2020 canceled?
E3 2020 seemed determined to hold onto its plans in the wake of growing fears about the coronavirus pandemic.
However, finally, on the morning of March 11, 2020, E3 responded to the pandemic on Twitter.
The E3 team is devastated to share this news. This decision was not reached lightly, but it is the right one for the health and safety of all involved. Read our statement here: https://t.co/1uOWxTerN9 pic.twitter.com/gD2IxNACLX
— E3 (@E3) March 11, 2020
The official announcement follows.
“After careful consultation with our member companies regarding the health and safety of everyone in our industry – our fans, our employees, our exhibitors, and our longtime E3 partners – we have made the difficult decision to cancel E3 2020, scheduled for June 9-11 in Los Angeles.”
The statement went on to say that the ongoing concerns about the coronavirus made this the best possible reaction. They also stated they were disappointed in canceling the event and will explore options to coordinate an online experience for fans in June.
All updates will be announced on E3Expo.com.
The association organizers also offered a positive twist on the future, noting it is anticipating “bringing you E3 2021 as a reimagined event that brings fans, media, and the industry together in a showcase that celebrates the global video game industry.”
How are gamers reacting on Twitter to the E3 2020 cancellation from the coronavirus?
Reactions quickly followed. Some fans were disappointed, while others predicted that individual companies would offer their own events.
Y’all do realize that just cause E3 is cancelled doesn’t mean the games won’t be announced they’ll just do a Nintendo direct style event
— Coco animal crossing stan account (@Kosmic_Kitty_) March 11, 2020
Most Twitter fans agreed, noting that companies will still release new products.
But some were glum, pointing out that, as Qiterpot tweeted, without E3, the new video game releases “won’t be announced in the span of an amazing couple days. The whole point was the theatrics of it all, and now it’s all in the toilet. No point in these companies trying to do it on their own, not enough people will be watching.”
Microsoft’s Xbox and other companies react
Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft’s Xbox division, was quick to turn to Twitter in the wake of the E3 cancellation.
Spencer promised Xbox gamers that Microsoft is planning “an Xbox digital event.”
E3 has always been an important moment for Team Xbox. 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 https://t.co/xckMKBPf9h
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) March 11, 2020
Electronic Arts is known for its yearly EA Play press event at E3. Per PC Gamer, EA announced that they have “continued to follow the coronavirus developments around the world very closely.”
“Clearly the situation is evolving by the day, and we’ve been reviewing how it will change our plans for EA Play 2020. We will share more soon.”
Wholesome Games offers an alternative to E3 2020
Other reactions to the E3 2020 cancellation included Devolver Digital keeping it real by proclaiming itself “bummed” and Wholesome Games turning to Twitter to ask for feedback on the possibility of an online showcase.
With the cancellation of events like #E32020, a few folks have suggested we create a Wholesome Games showcase in the style of a Nintendo Direct to help devs promote their games. Would this interest you? Use this form to offer your feedback or contribute: https://t.co/imvLHaFCT0 pic.twitter.com/X0gkox9AFh
— Wholesome Games (@_wholesomegames) March 11, 2020
This proposal could offer smaller, independent video game developers a way to survive without E3 2020.
Wholesome Games explained that the proposed showcase would be styled after a Nintendo Direct to support indie developers hype their games.