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ESA President Gives Reasons For E3 2023 Shocking Cancellation

E3 logo

Electronic Entertainment Experience or Electronic Entertainment Expo or E3 for short is an annual trade event in the United States organized by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). The 2023 edition was planned to begin June 13 and run until June 16 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, California.

Entertainment Software Association is the organizer of E3 (Photo credit: The ESA)
Entertainment Software Association (Photo credit: The ESA)

E3 is always an opportunity for publishers, software developers, and hardware manufacturers to showcase new and upcoming products. The last time the event was held was in 2019. The 2020 event was canceled because of the pandemic. In 2021, the organizers tried a digital event. Apparently, they were not satisfied with the outcome and had to cancel the 2022 event too.

The 2023 event would have been the 27th E3. However, that would not be. On March 30, IGN reported that the E3 has been canceled because of a lack of interest. According to reports, the organizers announced the cancelation through an email sent to its members.

ESA ended the email by reechoing its commitment to advocacy work. After the news went public, there were speculations on its authenticity. To clear the air, ESA issued a public statement from Kyle Marsden-Kish, Global VP of Gaming ReedPop. The statement read:

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 experience.

Signs of trouble for E3 2023

Characters from Ubisoft games (Photo credit: Ubisoft News)
Characters from Ubisoft games (Photo credit: Ubisoft News)

On Monday, March 27, Ubisoft announced that it would no longer be part of E3 2023. Instead, the company opted for its own live event. The news came as a shock to many since the publisher earlier mentioned they would attend the show.

“While we initially intended to have an official E3 presence, we have made the subsequent decision to move in a different direction and will be holding a Ubisoft Forward Live event on June 12 in Los Angeles. We look forward to sharing more details with our players soon,” said a Ubisoft spokesperson as reported by VGC.

E3 2023 would have been an in-person reunion of some sort after a 3-year hiatus. ReedPop is now in charge of the show. The same company is in charge of the Star Wars Celebration and PAX. Before Ubisoft dropped the ball, Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo already confirmed that they will not participate.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, companies like Microsoft, Electronics Art, and Sony have slowly started distancing themselves from E3 in favor of their own events. Ubisoft seems to be eyeing that path too with its recent announcement.

Ubisoft has a plethora of games in development including Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, Skull and Bones, and Assassin’s Creed Mirage.

The straw that suggested the event would not hold

Some of the companies that ditched E3 (Photo credit: WIN)
Some of the companies that ditched E3 (Photo credit: WIN)

On Tuesday, March 28, E3 lost two more publishers Tencent and Sega. The two publishers confirmed to IGN that they would be skipping the event. Although the two publishers made their decisions public, there were indications that others mulled over the idea but were yet to make it public.

“After careful consideration, we have decided not to participate in E3 2023 as an exhibitor,” Sega revealed to IGN. “We look forward to sharing more information on announced and unannounced projects in the future.”

A major shakeup is expected in ReedPop in April. The company’s president Lance Fensterman is expected to step aside. That position will be filled by the current vice president Michael Kisken.

Prior to the announcement, they were lots of confusion and uncertainty surrounding the event. According to IGN, a lot of people were eager to know what was happening because in past years when E3 had taken place, all the plans were already concrete by March. However, this year, there was a clear void that many people struggled to fill.

Unlike the E3, Geoff Keighley’s Play Days which was held last year over two days has also been confirmed to hold this year in early June. Although the in-person, media-only event is significantly smaller than E3, it had higher certainty of holding this year. Many people confirmed to IGN they already have games locked in for the event—and expected to have more games present this year compared to last year.

ESA president hints at the reason for E3 2023 cancelation

Stanley Pierre-Louis, ESA president
Stanley Pierre-Louis, ESA president and CEO

Stanley Pierre-Louis, ESA president and CEO granted an interview where he explained the reasons for the cancellation of E3 2023. Pierre-Louis blamed it largely on the adjustment of publishers’ marketing occasioned by economic changes as well as their decision to run their own digital showcases.

Also, Pierre-Louis noted that COVID-19 affected game development timelines. According to a report by, Pierre-Louis said they started strong with interest from industry players, exhibitors, fans, and the media. However, that plan was hit by unsurmountable challenges.

“Firstly, several companies have reported that the timeline for game development has been altered since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Pierre-Louis said. “Secondly, economic headwinds have caused several companies to reassess how they invest in large marketing events. Finally, companies are starting to experiment with how to find the right balance between in-person events and digital marketing opportunities.”

Pierre-Louis was unable to confirm if E3 will make a return in 2024 or how the event will adjust to the new reality of looming demise. However, he confirmed that publishers’ marketing needs were changing and that the ESA is looking for a way to accommodate that change.

“It’s a matter of finding the right pitch… for the needs that are evolving,” Pierre-Louis said. “[Publishers are] experimenting with how they market their works. We’re seeing other shows coming back slowly. They are at a different scale and investment commitment than E3 so we have to continue to work on how we create a dynamic and sustainable model that meets industry needs.”

Do you think E3 will make a return in 2024 or have we seen the last of it?
  • E3 is dead and its glaring to the blind 62%, 8 votes
    8 votes 62%
    8 votes - 62% of all votes
  • It's definitely a bleak future but anything is possible 23%, 3 votes
    3 votes 23%
    3 votes - 23% of all votes
  • I believe E3 will bounce back in 2024 15%, 2 votes
    2 votes 15%
    2 votes - 15% of all votes
Total Votes: 13
March 31, 2023 - February 1, 2024
Voting is closed


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