E3 Cancelled - How Will This Impact Independent Studios And Media?

On Wednesday, 3/11, the ESA cancelled E3 with the below statement:

“After careful consultation with our member companies regarding the health and safety of everyone in our industry – our fans, our employees, our exhibitors, and our longtime E3 partners – we have made the difficult decision to cancel E3 2020, scheduled for June 9-11 in Los Angeles. Following increased and overwhelming concerns about the COVID-19 virus, we felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation. We are very disappointed that we are unable to hold this event for our fans and supporters. But we know it’s the right decision based on the information we have today. Our team will be reaching out directly to exhibitors and attendees with information about providing full refunds. We are also exploring options with our members to coordinate an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020. Updates will be shared on E3Expo.com. We thank everyone who shared their views on reimagining E3 this year. We look forward to bringing you E3 2021 as a reimagined event that brings fans, media, and the industry together in a showcase that celebrates the global video game industry.”

First and foremost, the health and safety of all attendees needs to be of priority. It seems that everyone is getting a clue that health needs to trump money. We have seen the NCAA cancellation all winter and spring sports, the NBA and NHL suspend their seasons, the MLB cancelled spring training and is delaying the start of their season, and Broadway in New York City has closed down for 30 days. COVID-19 is not a joke and its good to see it is being taken seriously.

For most big companies like Microsoft, Nintendo, and Square Enix, E3 being cancelled is not the end of the world. They have the resources to be able to do digital events to get their game out in front of the masses. Media publications like IGN and Game Informer will still be able to to do interviews with studios and devs remotely to meet their deadlines and get stories out.

Where the cancellation of E3 is going to hurt is those independent studios who have yet to find. a publisher for their game. Most people equate E3 to the pomp and circumstance it has been with all the media briefings and games on the show floor. They don’t understand that there are a lot of meeting that take place at E3. Last year I go to see such a meeting on the outside with someone showing off a new game to Nintendo. This sort of thing could make or break a studio.

This cancellation is going to impact independent media organizations, including us at Crashing Game Night. Most independent journalists and podcasters don’t get face to face time with the big devs and studios in the industry. This was going to be our first year attending E3 as members of the media. We worked hard over the last year to bring our listeners great guests in the industry. That in itself I considered a huge win, and one in which I owe solely to our listeners and readers for tuning in to the podcast and reading our articles. E3 was going to be our chance to report from behind the lines, to give our listeners a glimpse into the real E3 and spotlight great devs and games. For some independent journalist that aspire to join the likes of IGN, GameSpot, etc, this would have been a chance to show off their journalistic abilities.

If 2019 ends of being the last year for E3, then I am very glad I went. I was able to meet and talk to some great people, some we have as guests on the podcast including voice actor John Bentley and Ubisoft Creative Director, Julian Gehrighty. Now is not the time for everyone to feel angry at the ESA. They did what they felt was the right thing. Lets face it, anyone who has attended E3 in years past know how poorly ventilated the LA Convention Center is. We as a global game community need to band together, show compassion for those that are tightly locked down areas. Truly be there for one another. If someone is looking for someone to play with, don’t be afraid to stand up and say sure I will squad up with you, even if you don’t know the person. For a lot of people, especially those in South Korea and Italy, this may be the only social interaction they will get. For the bigger journalist out there, support the independents, maybe invite them in on a teleconference invterview; allow them to still get the exposure that E3 would have provided to them this year. Who knows if E3 will return in 2021, and if it does, what formate will it return in. Will it be one similar to PAX or will they go back to their roots. Time will tell, until then, game on everyone!

Matt Diorio (CGN Host)
Matt Diorio (CGN Host)
Editor/Podcast Host/Content Creator