E3 Has Been Cancelled Permanently

Though E3 was once the biggest stage of the games industry, recent years have seen its popularity eroding at an alarming rate. The last couple of years have seen its organizing body, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), trying and failing to get the show off the ground, and it turns out those failures have had a lasting impact.

In a report published by The Washington Post, the ESA has confirmed that it is permanently closing down the E3 event, which means it is no longer planning E3 shows for the coming years.

“After more than two decades of hosting an event that has served as a central showcase for the U.S. and global video game industry, the Entertainment Software Association has decided to bring E3 to a close,” said Stanley Pierre-Louis, the ESA’s president and CEO.

Pierre-Louis added that new methods for companies to reach their audiences – i.e. through direct, pre-recorded presentations or livestreams – has contributed to the diminishing importance and necessity of E3 as an event.

“We know the entire industry, players and creators alike have a lot of passion for E3,” he said. “We share that passion. We know it’s difficult to say goodbye to such a beloved event, but it’s the right thing to do given the new opportunities our industry has to reach fans and partners.”

He added: “Companies now have access to consumers and to business relations through a variety of means, including their own individual showcases.”

He went on to add that though E3’s popularity has steadily declined in recent years, its absence has benefited the industry in other ways.

“Any one of these major companies can create an individual showcase, [and] also partner with other industry events to showcase the breadth of games,” he said. “That’s exciting for our industry, and it means it’s an opportunity for them to explore how to engage new audiences in different ways.”

E3 2018 was the last time we got a full-fledged E3 event, with all major players being present. In E3 2019 (and beyond), Sony did not attend, while subsequent years intermittently saw the likes of EA and Nintendo sitting out as well.

E3 2020 was, of course, cancelled altogether due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and though the show did return in 2021 as a remote event, it was met with lukewarm reception at best. The last couple of years have seen the ESA trying to reinvent the event in an attempt to inject it with new life, but E3 2022 and E3 2023 were both cancelled as well. Earlier this year, it was alleged that E3 2024 and 2025 had also been cancelled.

Recent years have also seen companies hosting their own events and showcases, further reducing the need for E3’s existence. Nintendo has, of course, been doing that for over a decade, but in recent years, it has also been joined by the likes of Sony, Microsoft, EA, Capcom, and many others.

Of course, the emergence of events like Summer Game Fest and The Game Awards – both of which were created and are hosted and produced by Geoff Keighley, who was a permanent fixture at E3 events until 2019 – has also contributed to the once-dazzling showcase’s stock plummeting.