Although E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is returning this year after a rocky couple of pandemic-impacted years, it will be without some of the video game industry’s biggest players. As per a report from IGN, “all three of gaming’s first-party console manufacturers appear poised to skip E3’s big return“, suggesting that for the first time, none of the major console manufacturers will be presenting at E3. This year, event organiser ReedPop is taking over the management of the event from longtime event manager ESA.
This is not exactly unprecedented. E3’s significance in terms of allowing major gaming companies a platform to announce new projects has been waning in relevance for many years. Nintendo has been regularly favouring online Nintendo Direct presentations over the last decade. Furthermore, Sony did not participate in E3 for the first time in 2019. The prevalence of social media platforms like YouTube, Twitter and Twitch has provided major publishers and console manufacturers a better platform to announce new games and consoles at their own rate and to a more curated audience.
Of course, there are plenty of other reasons unrelated to E3’s relevance that might have caused all three console manufacturers to decide against attendance. Xbox has been experiencing many highly publicised layoffs and has not released many new games lately, and thus may be skipping the event to reduce costs. Sony, Xbox and Nintendo have yet to publicly comment on their attendance at E3, or lack thereof.
That said, even if the big console manufacturers decide not to attend, there are still plenty of large publishers who are likely to still utilise the event to announce and show off new games. As per a statement by ReedPop, it has “received a tremendous amount of interest and verbal commitments from many of the biggest companies in the industry“, and that it is confident that “it will be a lineup that will make the trip to Los Angeles well worth it for the industry and consumers alike.” If the major console manufacturers do choose to sit out E3 2023, it will remain to be seen if the event can still hold the wide appeal it once did, or if the gaming industry will continue its shift towards less centralised, online platforms to announce new projects.