For Los Angeles’ Electronic Entertainment Expo (a.k.a. “E3,” a.k.a. the thing where they announce a bunch of new video game stuff), the COVID-19 pandemic came at a particularly inopportune time. The event had been desperately fighting off irrelevance for years, as video streaming technology improved right alongside companies like Nintendo realizing how easy it is to just make their own announcements on their own time without having to fight competitors for attention, so when E3 was canceled last year because of the virus it seemed like the final nail in the coffin for an event that nobody really needs anymore. So it shouldn’t be particularly surprising that a report from L.A.’s Board Of The Department Of Convention And Tourism Development Commissioners (have they considered a catchier acronym?) is now saying that the 2021 E3 live show—as in, the event at the Los Angeles Convention Center where a bunch of nerds line up for hours to see whatever Mickey Mouse is doing in the next Kingdom Hearts or to get their Nintendo Power issues signed by the real Super Mario—has also been canceled already.
E3 isn’t going down without a fight, though. Rather than taking this and the fact that Microsoft and Sony were both able to launch new consoles last year without lavish E3 press conferences as indicators that it should throw in the towel, E3 and its organizers at the Entertainment Software Association are instead working with the city of Los Angeles to put together a new virtual event for 2021. That comes from the aforementioned report (via Deadline), which also says that the ESA is already working on securing convention licenses in L.A. for 2022 and 2023, seemingly implying that E3 hopes to go back to a traditional live event by next year.
That doesn’t seem completely absurd, since there will presumably be a lot of people eager to go out and do stuff once its safe to do so, but it is fairly surprising that the ESA is so confident in its ability to keep E3 alive for a few more years. We’ll have to wait until this summer (as that’s usually when E3 happens) to see how that goes.