The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has reportedly informed its members that E3 2023 has been canceled, following the withdrawal of major publishers such as Ubisoft, Sega, and Tencent. Console manufacturers Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony had already confirmed their absence from this year’s E3 event, which was set to mark the return of the gaming industry show to Los Angeles for the first time in four years.
According to IGN, more publishers pulled out of E3 2023, with others expressing doubts about participating. The ESA reportedly stated that the event “simply did not garner the sustained interest necessary to execute it in a way that would showcase the size, strength, and impact of our industry.” This year’s E3 was initially planned as the first in-person event since 2019, taking place at the L.A. Convention Center. ReedPop, the company behind PAX and Star Wars Celebration, was enlisted to run E3 2023, combining publisher, developer, media, and buyer gatherings with in-person consumer components and digital showcases.
The ESA issued the following public statement from Kyle Marsden-Kish, Global VP of Gaming, ReedPop:
This was a difficult decision because of all the effort we and our partners put toward making this event happen, but we had to do what’s right for the industry and what’s right for E3. We appreciate and understand that interested companies wouldn’t have playable demos ready and that resourcing challenges made being at E3 this summer an obstacle they couldn’t overcome. For those who did commit to E3 2023, we’re sorry we can’t put on the showcase you deserve and that you’ve come to expect from ReedPop’s event experiences.
With E3 2023 canceled, the Geoff Keighley-produced Summer Game Fest will serve as an alternative for game publishers and developers to showcase their products in June. Microsoft and Ubisoft will host their own digital events in June, coinciding with the Summer Game Fest (June 8-10) and the now-canceled E3 (June 11-16).
The cancellation of E3 2023 marks the third scrapped iteration of the event in recent years, raising concerns about the expo’s health and the industry’s valuation of it. Following the in-person E3 2019, E3 2020 was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting game publishers to hold their own digital showcases over several months. E3 2021 took place as an all-digital event, while both in-person and digital versions of E3 2022 were also canceled.