Wait, am I out of a job now?
E3 2020 Cancelled

Earlier today, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus (Covid-19) a pandemic. Think of a pandemic as an epidemic that has a much greater reach. Epidemics could be considered to be localized to just a few places in the world. Pandemics signify that there is a global impact. For a while, Covid-19 was still considered an epidemic because it was largely contained to areas of China and mostly to those that travel. As the virus continues to spread beyond these loosely defined restrictions, it's clear that the impact is far greater reaching.

It should perhaps come as no surprise then to hear that the ESA has finally decided to cancel E3 2020. This announcement came a short while after Covid-19 was upgraded to a pandemic and it is an announcement that most were expecting to see today. Last night, a fair number of industry insiders, workers, and even game studios got word out that "E3 is cancelled."

The governing body of E3, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), said via Twitter that they are "devastated to share this news" with the world. They note that the "decision was not reached lightly" and continue to say that "it is the right one for the health and safety of all involved." A longer statement was issued via the ESA website. I have included the full statement below as their website has had some troubles loading today.

WASHINGTON – MARCH 11, 2020 – 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.
Without an actual show to experience, this has left many studios pondering what to do next. Microsoft had previously said that they were going to be at E3, but today's news has obviously forced a change of plans. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer already took to Twitter to announce that they will instead hold an Xbox focused digital event.

Nintendo says that they support the decision to cancel E3. However, they stopped short of saying if they are planning to do anything else during the time E3 was to run. In recent years, Nintendo has usually done a series of "Nintendo Treehouse" livestream events. These would be in addition to a shorter, more focused Nintendo Direct video that would go up online at the start of the event.

On March 11, Ubisoft announced that they also support the decision to cancel E3 2020. In a brief statement made on Twitter, Ubisoft says that they are "exploring other options for a digital experience that will allow us to share all the exciting news we have planned." Fans are encouraged to "stay tuned for more."

Devolver Digital says that they do plan on having a livestream event, just as in previous years. On March 5, the company did say that their E3 2020 press conference would no longer be held in front of a live audience. In case you don't understand their joke, feel free to take a complimentary "woosh."

E3 2020's cancellation comes just a couple of weeks after GDC officials postponed the Game Developers Conference that was scheduled for March 16 - March 20, 2020. Similar to what will probably happen with E3 showcases, GDC presentations will instead be shared online via YouTube.