It’s been nearly a year since the COVID-19 coronavirus sent the world into quarantine. Following the move, many in-person events and conferences were either replaced with online options, or just outright canceled. The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) toyed with the idea of an all-online E3 in June 2020 after the cancellation of the in-person version. However, it dropped the idea following the departure of major publishers. The threat of the pandemic is, unfortunately, still a reality a year later. Naturally, it comes as no shock to hear that the live event for E3 2021 is apparently canceled.
As spotted by VGC, the Board of Los Angeles Convention and Tourism Development Commission lists the live E3 2021 event as canceled. Again, this doesn’t come as a surprise. Although coronavirus vaccines are finally making the rounds, an event of E3’s magnitude is still incredibly unsafe. E3 2019 had an attendance number of more than 66,000 people. Forgoing the simple math, it’s more than what’s allowed for most social gatherings.
To reiterate, organizers canceled a live event for E3 last year — but that might not happen in 2021. After the official cancellation of E3 2020, companies such as Microsoft and Ubisoft were quick to announce their own online plans. Geoff Keighley, who had been a major part of E3, also left to pursue the creation of the Summer Game Fest. In other words, companies seemed to have gotten along fine without E3. However, this year the ESA has said it’s pushing for an online event, and has been teasing some “big news” coming soon.
Better luck next year
With E3 2021’s live event canceled, that leaves some questions as to plans for next year. According to the board’s documents, the commission is discussing the future with the ESA. The image reads: “Working on 2022 & 2023 license.” Granted, no one can really predict the future. Hopefully, next year will bring a return of some much-needed normalcy. At the moment, all the ESA can do is prepare and stay optimistic. It’s just about the only thing any of us can do right now.