E3 will return next year, ESA says

The June gaming hype season may be in full swing even without an E3 show, but that’s not deterring the expo’s organizer. The Entertainment Software Association has now confirmed its plans to hold an online and physical E3 in 2023.

ESA president and CEO Stan Pierre-Louis shared the news with the Washington Post in a new interview. “We’re excited about coming back in 2023 with both a digital and an in-person event,” Pierre-Louis said.

If the expo does return, it will have been four full years since the ESA’s last in-person show, with only one (underwhelming) digital E3 event in 2021 during that span. In the interim, publishers and independent organizers like Geoff Keighley have stepped in to fill the void with their own livestream showcases, offering a way to promote games during the global pandemic.

Even before the rise of COVID, E3 had suffered a number of setbacks, with traditionally big partners like PlayStation and EA opting to hold independent (but concurrent) events instead.

This decline, coupled with E3’s meager presence over the past few years, has led some observers to question its continued relevance and doubt the impact of any future return in a post-COVID era. Mike Futter, formerly of Game Informer, has claimed that the ESA had decided to scupper a 2022 E3 well before the Omicron variant pushed case counts higher, accusing the organization of using “a nonsense COVID cover story” to disguise other issues in organizing the event.

Pressed on that idea, Pierre-Louis gave the Post something of a non-answer, merely noting that COVID “has been a driving factor for anyone who conducts physical events.”

The ESA has yet to announce dates or a venue for E3 2023. If history holds, it’ll take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center in June.

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