E3's big return sounds like it's more of a dud.
A cardiogram graph showing a flatline.

In September 2022, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced that E3 was returning. Not only was it returning, but it would be the show's first in-person event in four years.

Now, we're learning that none of the three major console makers will have any sort of presence at the trade show. Sony and Nintendo not having a presence probably isn't too surprising. Those two companies had already started to do their own showcases and streams separate from E3 before the rise of COVID turned everything upside-down. Microsoft not having a show directly tied to E3 is rather new. Even when Sony and Nintendo were no-shows for the event, Microsoft still kept on doing their regular showcase in the period right before E3 officially kicked off.

This new report comes to us via IGN. In their report, IGN says that "multiple knowledgeable sources" tell them that Xbox, Sony, and Nintendo are skipping this year's E3. They will not have live showcases at the event nor will they have a presence on the show floor of the Los Angeles Convention Center where E3 is being held.

Just this past week, Xbox CEO Phil Spencer beat around the bush as to whether or not Xbox would be at E3. Spencer does at least indicate that they are planning a showcase that will air right around E3 time in June.

"E3 is just, to me, one of the seminal moments of gaming. I love the history of going down to LA, thousands of people there, getting to see great new things...getting to see people in the industry, the fan events that we've had. I definitely want that to continue," Spencer said.

"Xbox is on the board of the ESA, and I think a successful and healthy ESA is critical to what we're trying to go do. So we place our showcase, like we always have done, at a time where hopefully it's convenient for press and even consumers that are going to the E3 event, and that's what we're trying to do now. We will continue to work with ESA in terms of their plans. As I said, we're on the board, and we want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to help make the E3 successful."​
Officially, Xbox has not confirmed their plans for E3 2023. In previous years, IGN notes that Xbox "held a showcase, preview events, and press mixers."

There is no saying exactly why Xbox has also apparently decided to forego a physical floor presence at this year's E3. However, recent layoffs throughout Microsoft, which hit Xbox studios particularly hard, probably had a hand in this decision.

Nintendo, while ditching their traditional in-person conferences in favor of pre-recorded "Nintendo Direct" streams, still had a presence on the E3 show floor in recent years. IGN's sources now say that "neither Nintendo nor Sony will be at E3 2023, with PlayStation originally dropping out in 2019 over reported disagreements with the Entertainment Software Association."

At present, it's not clear whether Nintendo and Sony will have livestream showcases airing around E3 time. In recent years, they did have these livestreamed events, but nothing is confirmed for 2023 thus far.

According to one knowledgeable source, there have been "ongoing frustrations" with the ESA over the last three years, who they claim have "incredibly mishandled the E3 brand over the last three years." They corroborated other IGN sources in saying that several major E3 organizers have departed the ESA, "leaving a new group to sweep up after them," and criticized ReedPop's handling of the event.

The source claims that ReedPop began contacting publishers about E3 last fall while promising to book spots in December. But with less than six months to go until E3, the sources says there's "a lot of missing information."​
E3 2023 is expected to run from June 13 - 16. The annual industry trade show had already lost significance in recent years, and this year looks like it will continue that trend towards obsolescence.