E3 pulls the plug on possibility of digital event, fully cancels 2022 show

The longrunning game industry event was seemingly eyeing an all-virtual event for 2022, but will now skip the year entirely.

The organizers behind E3 2022 have seemingly decided to fully cancel this year's expo. The longrunning game industry event was expected to return as an all-virtual event for 2022, following the previous cancellation of any in-person plans earlier this year.

The Electrionic Software Association, the organization behind the yearly game industry show, announced the cancellation over email to partner companies, with Razer PR lead Will Powers first later sharing the email's news over Twitter.

As of writing, neither the ESA nor E3 have announced the cancellation via public channels, though we've reached out directly for comment.

This latest cancellation follows a trend for game event cancellations from 2020 and onward, though those difficulties have been particularly pronounced for E3 itself due to struggles with audience and purpose even before the COVID-19 pandemic complicated matters.

The show ran as a virtual experience in 2021 after being fully cancelled the year prior due to the pandemic. Prior to the 2020 cancellation, the ESA had planned a major overhaul for E3 2020 in an effort to reinvigorate E3 during an era when many of the usual flagship press conferences had vanished as companies like PlayStation and EA had shifted their announcements to own first-party channels.

This year's show had, prior to today's news, been expected to launch as another all-virtual event due to "the ongoing health risks surrounding COVID-19 and its potential impact on the safety of exhibitors and attendees" preventing a return to an in-person expo. COVID-19 could still have complicated plans to hold the event online but given E3's past difficulties its equally possible more factors could've played a part in the ESA's ultimate decision.

Update 3:45 PM ET: The ESA has confirmed to Axios' Stephen Totilo that E3 will not take place in 2022, and will instead return in 2023 "with a reinvigorated showcase that celebrates new and exciting video games and industry innovations."

The decision, according to the statement, stems from the ESA's desire to "devote all our energy and resources to delivering a revitlizied physical and digital E3 experience next summer" with a focus on bringing communiy, media, and the industry together in an "all-new format."

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