The cancellation of E3 2020 was significant; even if the trade show has been generally diminished in importance over the past several years, it’s still a major show that has a huge footprint. While the cancellation announcement mentioned that the ESA would be looking into provide some sort of coordinated online experience, a statement from an ESA representative confirms that this will not be in the form of some unified E3 Online-style event. Instead, the ESA is promising to help promote and work with planned exhibitors to highlight online offerings individually.
E3 2020 is not the only event to be cancelled over COVID-19 anxieties, with GDC and Gamescom having similar disruptions. It’s important to note that the initial cancellation announcement does not specifically state that there will be an online E3, making this change viewable as potentially being what was meant all along. Still, it also serves as confirmation that there will be no E3 of any kind this year, a major change for the industry even as E3 2021 has already been announced. It’s also notable as the aforementioned GDC and Gamescom both migrated to digital formats.