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E3 Game Show Canceled Due to Coronavirus COVID-19 Concerns (Updated)

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Organizers of June L.A. trade show consider online summer event instead

Business news website Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has canceled its E3 video game trade show due to concerns over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The technology news website Ars Technica reported from its source on background that the official announcement "was supposed to be today [Tuesday, March 10] and slipped." Bloomberg added that the ESA plans to make an official announcement on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. ET. and that the ESA told partners that it is "exploring options for an online E3 event this summer."

The trade show was scheduled to take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, California on June 9-11.

Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) confirmed in January that it will not be participating at E3 for the second consecutive year, as it did not feel that E3 is "the right venue" for its focus.

Major game companies such as Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft typically used E3 to share major news about upcoming projects through press conferences. Sony and Microsoft are planning to launch the PlayStation 5 console and the Xbox Series X console, respectively, by the end of this year.

The first reported cases of COVID-19 were in Wuhan, China in December, and then the disease began to spread in varying rates and intensities across many parts of the globe through incubation in human hosts. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a world health emergency on January 30. As of Tuesday, the WHO reported that there are 113,702 infected individuals worldwide, with 80,924 of them in China. 3,140 individuals have died from the disease in China, and 872 have died outside China. The WHO raised its global risk assessment over the virus from "high" to "very high" on February 28.

Update: E3 made the official announcement and added that its staff will be contacting exhibitors and attendees about full refunds. The staff is "also exploring options with our members to coordinate an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020," and is anticipating working on E3 2021. Below is the full statement that E3 provided to the media:

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.

Sources: Bloomberg (Dina Bass), Ars Technica (Sam Machkovech)

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