It seems hopes that E3 will return to its former prominence have been dashed, with none of the console manufacturers expected to attend.
The pandemic may have made it impossible to host E3 – the game’s industry’s biggest yearly trade show – but the writing was on the wall for the event long before that. Sony had already abandoned it and major publishers such as EA and Activision Blizzard were increasingly relying on their own online showcases.
2023 was supposed to be the big comeback year but multiple reports claim that Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are all staying away.
Sony isn’t much of a surprise but Microsoft has already announced a live Xbox showcase in Los Angeles for sometime this summer, which strongly implied they’d be at E3 – but apparently not.
Only last week, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said its summer showcase would be timed to coincide with E3 at a time ‘convenient for press and even consumers’.
This implied a similar arrangement to pre-pandemic E3, when Microsoft, Sony, and other major publishers would hold individual press events in the weekend before E3 starts.
‘E3 is just, to me, one of the seminal moments of gaming. I love the history of going down to LA, thousands of people there, getting to see great new things…getting to see people in the industry, the fan events that we’ve had. I definitely want that to continue,’ Spencer said last week.
According to IGN though, Microsoft will not have a booth on the show floor, which suggests there’ll be no playable demos or previews to coincide with whatever announcements they make.
It’s speculated that the sudden change in plans may be related to the 10,000 job cuts at Microsoft in January, which did affect the Xbox division.
Nintendo hasn’t held a physical preview event for many years but usually has a major Nintendo Direct livestream before the show begins and has always had one of the largest booths, regardless of how many games it has to show.
However, according to IGN they will not be present, with VGC corroborating the rumour and suggesting that Nintendo feels it hasn’t got enough games to justify attending – which implies a lot about its autumn 2023 line-up and, perhaps, plans for the Switch 2.
VGC also agrees that Sony will not be there but suggests that Microsoft has not yet made a final decision and may still have a limited presence at E3 itself, but only for press and business visitors.
Although it may simply be poor timing for Nintendo and Microsoft, who might otherwise have attended, it does sound like another nail in the coffin for E3.
That means that the only guaranteed cross-publisher preview event is The Game Awards in December, along with the less high profile Summer Game Fest and Gamescom in late summer – all of which are organised by presenter Geoff Keighley.
What remains of E3 2023 will run from June 13 to June 16; it will be the first to be organised by British company ReedPop, owners of websites such as Eurogamer and VGC.
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