E3: Once world’s biggest gaming show permanently axed

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  • By Imran Rahman-Jones
  • BBC News

Image source, Getty Images

The E3 gaming show, once the biggest event in the gaming calendar, has been permanently cancelled.

In a statement, the organisers said: “After more than two decades of E3, each one bigger than the last, the time has come to say goodbye.”

It added: “Thanks for the memories. GGWP [good game well played]”.

Industry body Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which ran E3, confirmed to the BBC that the event will not go ahead in the future.

E3 – which stands for Electronic Entertainment Expo – was last held virtually in 2021.

The last in-person event was in 2019.

Game developer Hollie Bennett said it was “sad” to see E3 “fizzle out”.

She wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that it was “hard to sum up the impact E3 had on the industry”.

“Your year almost revolved around it!”, she wrote. “Nothing generated buzz like E3 did.”

Main showcase

E3 was once the industry’s main showcase for new games and technology.

It started as a trade show in LA in 1995, just after the launch of the PlayStation and the year before the Nintendo 64 was released.

Its 2005 event unveiled the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and a prototype of the Nintendo Wii.

But as big players such as Nintendo, Ubisoft and Sony began launching new games at their own in-house events, E3 became less relevant and struggled to attract the exclusive announcements it once had.

It then faced an enforced pause because of the pandemic.

The 2023 event was cancelled because of a lack of interest from people within the industry.

ESA President and CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis said in a statement: “ESA’s focus and priority remain advocating for ESA member companies and the industry workforce who fuel positive cultural and economic impact every day.”

Once an ‘unmissable event’

“The death of E3 is a significant moment for the games sector,” research director for games at Ampere Analysis Piers Harding-Rolls told the BBC.

He added that gaming companies running their own events “are a cheaper, flexible, and more effective way to reach an audience and control the release of news”.

“In its heyday E3 was viewed as an unmissable event and was hugely important for pre-launch buzz and the reveal of upcoming games and products.

“From a nostalgia point of view, it is sad to see it go.”

Additional reporting by Liv McMahon.



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