The ESA Explains Why It Finally Pulled The Plug on E3

E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) did not die with dignity; instead, it got years of delays and one digital event in 2021 that was just awful. This was because the ESA (Entertainment Software Association) wanted to bring the show back, but each time they faced huge challenges.

According to an interview between Venture Beat and Stanley Pierre-Louis, CEO of the ESA, the seeds of E3’s demise were sown years ago. The gaming landscape had shifted and changed which made the traditional E3 model obsolete. Once a handful of major publishers could make their own shows, they took away what made E3 so special. Pierre-Louis said, “I don’t think there’s any one thing you can point to for this decision. Overall, companies having more and different outlets became critical.”

Smaller studios thrive on platforms like Steam and Twitch, bypassing the E3 spotlight altogether. Big players like Microsoft and Sony host their own lavish showcases, drawing away E3’s thunder. Then there’s the competition like Geoff Keighley’s The Game Awards. E3’s press-centric focus feels outdated. It’s a relic of the past. It was once the one place where you could get previews, premiers, and news, but now that’s not the case.

“What distinguished E3 from every other video game event globally is the attention it received, both inside the industry and beyond the industry. No other industry event draws attention from the non-game world, whether it’s industry or fans. E3 broke through… That was its real distinguishing factor.”

Stanley Pierre-Louis

The ESA tried to save E3 as partners left. They tried to revamp the format, brought in new partners, and even went outside the Los Angeles Convention Center. But they couldn’t stop what was clearly happening. E3 was no longer unmissable and started to feel irrelevant.

E3’s legacy is undeniable. It was the show everyone needed to be at and to be invited as press was a huge moment in many careers. I was one of the people invited to E3 as press in its dying years, and I’m proud of that, even if it was awful.

The ESA plans to change its own strategy, explore new avenues, and find ways to connect with gamers in this new landscape. There were no specifics, but they’ll do their best to keep an ear on the pulse of our industry.

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