Reports say that E3 2020 has been cancelled due to coronavirus



Credit: ESA

This year's E3 looks to be the next major event to get struck down by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

According to reports from Ars Technica, "E3 2020 as we know it is over."

"Multiple sources familiar with the Entertainment Software Association (ESA)'s plans have confirmed to Ars Technica that the organization, which is responsible for the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), will soon cancel the three-day expo."

Since then, Gamespot has also published a news piece - citing multiple sources - corroborating initial reports.

At the time of writing, the ESA has yet to publicly respond.

However, rumors that a cancellation of the three-day event - considered the biggest tradeshow on the calendar for the world of video game - was imminent were emboldened by a tweet from publisher Devolver Digital earlier today.

Devolver Digital have something of a sworded history when it comes to their relationship with the ESA. In 2017, the indie publisher gambled and lost a reported $100,000 when they had to cancel an Indie Picnic festival set to take place across the road from the Las Angeles Convention Center where E3 takes place.

In an interview with Polygon at the time, Devolver co-founder Mike Wilson accused the ESA of pressuring the City of Los Angeles into denying the necessary permits.

According to Wilson, "E3 does not like us being here. We've always had a long-standing love-hate relationship. But not in a fuck-with-us kinda way, until this year. They just started making trouble for us with the City, saying, 'How dare you rent this space out to these renegades, blah, blah, blah.’ Obviously, they have a lot of sway with the city. Phone calls were made and threats. We were being bullied."

While the recent cancellations of international events like Mobile World Congress, GDC and SXSW (as well as more local endeavors like Tasmania's Dark Mofo) might make the potential cancellation of E3 less surprising, it's no less significant.

Despite major platform holders like Sony looking to sit this year's E3 out and lingering backlash from last year's ESA data leak, the tradeshow looked to be an important occasion ahead of the launch of the new Xbox Series X and Playstation 5. 

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Fergus Halliday
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