E3 E3

E3 used to be one of the most important dates on the video gaming calendar but has struggled to recover from pandemic-era disruptions. The get-together suffered another major blow last week when organizer Reedpop announced it would not be involved in future E3 editions.

Some background: Last year, Reedpop, which also organizes the PAX gaming events in the U.S. and Australia, agreed to produce E3 2023. Earlier this year, the organization signed a multi-year production deal for E3 with its host, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). However, things got off to an inauspicious start, and E3 2023 was canceled by March. It was meant to take place from June 13-16 and would have been the first in-person E3 since 2020.

What about E3 2024? Whether or not E3 returns next year is still up in the air, and if it does, it will be drastically different. The ESA has told the Los Angeles Convention Center, where the event is traditionally held, that it will not be hosted there next year. The organization has yet to indicate that E3 2024 is not happening, only that it would take place elsewhere if it does happen.

And after that? The ESA says it is exploring ways to evolve the showcase to serve the gaming industry best and plans to completely reinvent E3 for 2025.

Why is this happening? The main reason seems to be a lack of interest from major game developers. Most of the largest developers have opted to host their own product showcases or to promote their work at other events such as Summer Game Fest or PAX. When E3 put out a call earlier this year saying that registration for the 2023 edition was open, no major game publishers were included in the materials. Subsequent reports from gaming trades indicated that companies, including Nintendo, Microsoft, and Ubisoft, would not be participating.

What does this mean for L.A.? E3 was once one of the city’s largest spring conventions, and its cancelation leaves a gap in the area’s summer events calendar. In the past, the ESA has said that the event generated nearly $88 million in revenue for the city. Average attendance for the event was typically around 65,000 fans and presenters.

What are they saying? ESA president and CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis said:

We appreciate Reedpop’s partnership over the past 14 months and support their ongoing efforts to bring industry and fans together through their various events. While the reach of E3 remains unmatched in our industry, we are continuing to explore how we can evolve it to best serve the video game industry and are evaluating every aspect of the event, from format to location. We are committed to our role as a convenor for the industry and look forward to sharing news about E3 in the coming months.

Reedpop’s games events boss Kyle Marsden-Kish added:

We have enjoyed our time working with the ESA and appreciate their commitment to the games industry as a whole. While we will not be involved with the future of E3, we look forward to seeing its evolution and where the ESA takes it.”

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