E3 2023 is dead, and likely the future of the event is going with it
posted Tuesday Apr 4, 2023 by Scott Ertz
For years, we've predicted the eventual end of E3. The event was once the industry's biggest show, with live coverage from the show floor and major announcements made by every studio and console brand in the world. However, over the years mismanagement and changes in priorities have changed the value of participating in the event, for both media and exhibitors. As such, this week's announcement about the cancelation of E3 2023 was not a surprise to anyone paying attention. But, there could be more going on than just a single event cancelation.
History of E3 problems
The COVID-19 situation caused a lot of problems for the already struggling industry conference. The relevancy of the event came from its in-person nature. A virtual event under the E3 banner hasn't attracted any interest from the industry. E3 2020 and E3 2021 were predictably canceled, as the event famously takes place in California. Leading up to the 2022 event, it was announced that the event was canceled - similar to what happened this week. However, this was just the latest issue, as the event has had issues for years.
Dating back to our last in-person E3 coverage, there has been no predictability for the event. Credentialing has been erratic for media - switching one year from anyone with a Geocities page about videogames being able to get credentialed to only writers for corporate brands being able to get in the next created a lot of problems. Mid-sized brands, such as ours, struggled to get credentials for the show floor despite being a large media partner for more important events, such as CES.
These changes also caused regular gamers to begin losing interest in the event, as the coverage of the show and its announcements lessened. This proved to the Big Three (Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony) that the event wasn't necessary. Instead, they could get the same or more coverage by having their own events. Nintendo pulled out before COVID and had a lot of success with their Nintendo Direct for less money. Sony discovered that State of Play worked better outside of the confines of the event, and even several times per year. Xbox Games Showcase has been the same.
The likely end of E3
With the cancelation of E3 2023 likely comes the end of E3 entirely. This year's cancelation was expended, as the Big Three were not involved, and major studios were pulling out, as well. The ESA has announced that they will re-evaluate the future of the show with show runner ReedPop. However, something interesting happened on Facebook.
Obviously, the Facebook page had to change its profile and header images, and this has seemingly revealed information they didn't exactly intend. The 2023 header image featured the logo, the website, the dates, and the ReedPop logo. After the cancelation, the new image featured only the E3 logo and website - removing the dates, as expected, but also the ReedPop logo. As the event producer, you would expect that they would still be featured on the branding, but that's not the case.
When combining the missing ReedPop logo, the comment about re-evaluating the future of the event, and the history of challenges, it looks to us as if E3 2019 was the last of its kind.