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The Entertainment Software Association today announced that E3 will not be coming back. While it lasted, E3 was one of the shows that lighted up the summer for video game lovers. It was the platform for showcasing some of the biggest upcoming games—and the memories will linger. However, when it was abruptly canceled this year, I had a hunch it was not coming back.

“After more than two decades of E3, each one bigger than the last, the time has come to say goodbye,” the organizers announced through a post on X. “Thanks for the memories.”

I never had the opportunity of attending E3 in person. However, I dedicatedly streamed the show year after year. When publishers and developers started pulling away from the show earlier this year, I sensed trouble even before it was eventually canceled. Part of the problem can be linked back to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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While many remember COVID-19 for introducing “social distancing” into their lexicon or forcing them to huddle up in their homes, what was not immediately clear was how it would change the world forever. Although the show was canceled in 2020 because of COVID-19, publishers started exploring ways to showcase their games—because the show must go on.

Even before the pandemic, companies like Sony, Electronics Art, and Microsoft have gradually drifted away from the show in favor of their proprietary showcases. The success of individual showcases also inspired other companies like Ubisoft to follow the same path.

As individual showcase events thrived, E3 lost its relevance and struggled to make a return this year after the lockdowns were lifted. However, there were perks to individual showcases like no need to have a budget to fly a team with a playable demo and trailer to the event. Once publishers tasted these perks, they stopped seeing the incentive to be part of E3.

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“We know the entire industry, players and creators alike have a lot of passion for E3,” said the ESA president Stanley Pierre-Louis. “We share that passion. We know it’s difficult to say goodbye to such a beloved event, but it’s the right thing to do given the new opportunities our industry has to reach fans and partners.”

Developers, publishers, and gamers are pouring their tribute to E3

No doubt, E3 was fun while it lasted—and it really lasted. Created in 1995, the show aired unbroken for 25 years. At a time, it was the primary medium for retailers to meet and partner with game publishers. As the years rolled by, it became an important staple on the gaming calendar with millions of viewers around the globe tuning into the show.

However, with the growth and rapid expansion of the digital world, publishers began to question the relevance of the show since they could directly reach their audience through various digital media. One thing was clear, E3 failed to evolve, and the pandemic fast-tracked its redundancy.

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Several developers and gamers have been reacting to the death of E3. One of the prominent figures in the gaming industry who has reacted to the news was Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima.

Metal Gear Solid showcase at E3

“The end of E3 is sad news,” Kojima said. “MGS was exhibited for the first time in Atlanta in 1987. I have participated every year since then. I especially cherish the presentation of MGS in 2000. Already 23 years ago. I’ll never forget the standing ovation I received at that time. Without E3, Japanese creators and titles would not have made it to the global stage to this extent. E3 brought together creators and industry figures from all over the world, transcending borders and races.”

Studios and publishers including CD Projekt Red, Ubisoft, and Bethesda, have all left a message thanking E3 for the memories. Well, I guess I will never get the opportunity to attend E3 in person. What can I say but better days ahead?

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Anthony Emecheta

Anthony Emecheta has over a decade experience as a freelance writer. Gaming has always been a childhood hobby and he is excited to be collaborating with a gaming company as a content creator. It is like having all the things he loves in one place.

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