The Biggest Game Conference In The World Just Got Canceled

The E3 2023 game conference is officially canceled.

By Jason Collins | Updated

E3 2023 has been officially canceled after the biggest gaming companies announced their absence from the world’s biggest gaming convention. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo were subsequently followed by Ubisoft, Sega, and Tencent, prompting those in charge to cancel the first physical E3 since the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, E3 won’t be streaming as a virtual version for the time being.

According to Polygon, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) sent out emails to its members stating that the E3 was canceled, as the event didn’t garner the sustained interest necessary to execute in a way that would showcase the strength and impact of the gaming industry. The event’s registration team has since sent out emails notifying attendees that the show won’t be taking place as scheduled. Apparently, one of the reasons why E3 was canceled is because the interested companies wouldn’t have playable demos and enough showcase material for this year.  

But there’s more than one thing that got E3 canceled. The E3 2020 was the first one to be canceled due to Covid-19 lockdowns, and the subsequent show, E3 2021, was an all-digital event. The virtual E3 2022 was officially canceled, but its schedule was still respected by all the major gaming companies, which held their own streaming events showing what they’re working on and what’s coming out in the foreseeable future.

And these events were a massive success for their respective companies.

The same lockdowns that got E3 canceled also affected the very same developers now streaming their own showcases, which had massive ramifications on the industry. Massive delays were introduced, and some titles that were originally scheduled for release in 2021 or 2022, such as Starfield, have been pushed back to 2023. Several times, actually.

Given the massive success of dedicated showcases and the fact that most giants don’t actually have a playable demo to showcase publicly, it’s quite reasonable why most companies decided to skip E3 this year.  

Given that almost every major player in the gaming industry anchored up and sailed away, ReedPop and ESA simply decided not to go through with the event. Apparently, indie developers—of which there are many, and some are quite good—aren’t attractive enough to make the event worthwhile for these companies, effectively making E3 canceled. All of this begs the following question: what’s going on with the largest entertainment industry?

e3 canceled

Well, a couple of things, actually. The cost of development has skyrocketed, which made the games even more expensive, prompting many developers, even giants such as Ubisoft and Electronic Arts, to cancel some of their titles and lay off a section of their workforce. Additionally, the absolutely earth-shattering and historical purchase of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft—which still isn’t completed—shook the very foundations of the gaming industry, as many openly opposed the acquisition at the start.

If you’re wondering how that would make E3 canceled, well, everything factored in, even Microsoft’s acquisition of ABK, Nintendo’s launch of Tears of the Kingdom, Sony’s opposition to Microsoft, and both Ubisoft and Electronic Arts’ internal restructuring. For an industry that now makes as much as the movie and music industries combined, things within gaming are pretty turbulent at the moment.