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Well, we made it one solid week into the year, but it’s already a bust. Yup, in-person E3 is already cancelled amid ongoing Covid concerns, making it the third year in a row without some semblance of a normal event. Disappointed, but not surprised.
Speaking to GamesBeat, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which runs E3, said: “Due to the ongoing health risks surrounding COVID-19 and its potential impact on the safety of exhibitors and attendees, E3 will not be held in person in 2022. We remain incredibly excited about the future of E3 and look forward to announcing more details soon.”
The last "normal" E3 we had brought us this legendary Keanu Reeves moment - check it out below.
One thing that’s immediately concerning about all this is that nowhere in that statement have they actually confirmed that there’ll be any kind of event at all, even virtually. When GamesBeat asked for clarification, the ESA said that it’s “excited about the possibilities of an online event”, so while it’s definitely not out of the picture, the whole thing seems worryingly vague.
Obviously, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and with the Omicron variant making case numbers surge, it’s not that this is an unexpected or unreasonable decision at all. Interestingly though, it might not actually be because of Omicron that the statement has been made - according to business analyst Mike Futter, there were already whispers of E3’s in-person cancellation as early as November last year.
“This is a spin,” he tweeted. “I heard from sources in mid-November, before Omicron's emergence at the end of that month that the ESA had abandoned their dates for the LACC.”
This is spin. I heard from sources in mid-November, before Omicron's emergence at the end of that month that the ESA had abandoned their dates for the LACC. https://t.co/2oIbkNDFBx— Mike Futter (@Futterish) January 6, 2022
It’s safe to say that E3 is one of the biggest, if not the biggest event of the year in the games industry’s calendar, and missing out on the full experience for a third year is a huge blow. After being completely cancelled in 2020, 2021’s online-only event was also, frankly, a bit of a mess in many ways. I mean, PlayStation was completely absent, so the foundations were shaky from the start. We’ll just have to hope that whatever event this year has to offer will be executed a bit better.
Featured Image Credit: tofuprod via Flickr, Entertainment Software Association
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