E3, or the Electronic Entertainment Expo, has had a rough time of things in the last few years. The once-annual video game convention, where game publishers and console manufacturers would come together to show off their upcoming products, has faded from relevance following Covid-enforced online presentations and the major console manufacturers having pulled out, leading to this year’s show being cancelled. It now seems like a 2024 E3 is also in doubt, following confirmation that the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which controls the event, and ReedPop, which organises big gaming events like E3 and PAX, aren’t working together anymore.
As per a report from Gamesindustry.biz, the decision for the ESA and ReedPop to end their association was “a mutual decision“. “We appreciate ReedPop’s partnership over the past 14 months and support their ongoing efforts to bring industry and fans together through their various events,” said ESA president and CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis. “While the reach of E3 remains unmatched in our industry, we are continuing to explore how we can evolve it to best serve the video game industry and are evaluating every aspect of the event, from format to location. We are committed to our role as a convenor for the industry and look forward to sharing news about E3 in the coming months.”
In addition to E3 no longer having an organiser, it also doesn’t have a venue. The ESA has informed the Los Angeles Convention Center, where E3 has traditionally been held, that they won’t be hosting a show there next year. This could point to an online-only E3 2024, for which there is certainly precedent. However, it more likely indicates that next year’s show will be cancelled for the third year in a row. The ESA is apparently working on a “complete reinvention” of E3 for 2025, suggesting that they will be taking a hiatus for next year to work on some sort of revamp for the ailing convention.
It’s unclear what the ESA could do to make E3 relevant again. Making it online-only helped in terms of making it more accessible and cut down costs. That said, without the support of Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo, all of whom have mostly shifted to announcing things during other events, or via their own online presentations where they are not drowned out by competing announcements, it’s unclear what place there is for E3 in the 2020s. The ESA has not formally cancelled E3 2024, but if it is going to be held, it won’t be business as usual. We will have to wait and see if E3 can be successfully reinvented, or if it will remain a relic of the past.