Game over for E3 2020: COVID-19 takes out gaming’s biggest event


Another one bites the dust.
Photo: ESA

E3 2020 is the latest major event to be scrapped amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. The game industry’s biggest trade show was scheduled to kick off in Los Angeles on June 9. It will no longer go ahead this year.

Amazon’s AWS Summit in San Francisco has also been canceled. The announcements come as the World Health Organization (WHO) declares coronavirus a global pandemic.

E3, or the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is like Christmas come early for every gamer. It’s where the biggest names in the industry get together to announce exciting new titles and preview brand-new hardware.

Some of the names that were confirmed for E3 this year include Microsoft, Nintendo, Bethesda, Ubisoft, and Sega. However, event organizer The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) today confirmed that E3 has been canned.

E3 2020 canceled as COVID-19 spreads in California

“After careful consultation with our member companies regarding the health and safety of everyone in our industry – our fans, our employees, our exhibitors and our longtime E3 partners – we have made the difficult decision to cancel E3 2020,” reads the statement issued on Wednesday.

“Following increased and overwhelming concerns about the COVID-19 virus, we felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation.”

Of course, it’s not like organizers had a choice. COVID-19 has wiped out almost every major event this year, including Google I/O, South by Southwest, and a keynote Apple had scheduled for March. It has also hit sporting events and other mass gatherings.

The latest figures reveal more than 121,000 cases have now been confirmed worldwide. The death toll has reached almost 4,400.

‘The right decision’

“We are very disappointed that we are unable to hold this event for our fans and supporters,” the ESA added. “But we know it’s the right decision based on the information we have today.”

The statement mentions that E3 is exploring the possibility of hosting an “online experience” for industry announcements this June. Nothing has been confirmed just yet, though.

Amazon also confirmed on Wednesday that its AWS Summit, due to take place in San Francisco on April 14, has been canceled. The retail giant is instead planning a “fully digital experience” in May.

The developments cast further doubt over Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which usually takes place every June. Apple is yet to comment publicly on the event, but it seems likely the company will follow the same route as Google in going online-only.

COVID-19 now a pandemic

WHO on Wednesday confirmed that coronavirus is now characterized as a pandemic. Its announcement came as the whole of Italy remains on lockdown, while COVID-19 spreads its reach in other areas of the world. In California alone, 157 cases have now been confirmed.


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