E3 2022 is once again going online-only after the ESA recently announced that they’ve cancelled their plans for an in-person event this year. Last year, E3 was held via a digital event that brought together several major developers and publishers for game reveals. While they previously announced plans to host an in-person event in 2022, it looks like plans have changed due to COVID-19.
In a statement provided to GamesBeat, the ESA confirmed that they will be cancelling their planned in-person event this year amidst ongoing concerns and fears about COVID-19, with the global pandemic still affecting live shows. Just this week, CES 2022 opened their doors to an in-person event, though it seems like E3 is taking extra precautions due to the Omicron variant gaining momentum.
The full statement sent to GamesBeat reads:
“Due to the ongoing health risks surrounding covid-19 and its potential impact on the safety of exhibitors and attendees, E3 will not be held in person in 2022. We are nonetheless excited about the future of E3 and look forward to announcing more details soon.”
It’s worth noting that the ESA hasn’t explicitly stated yet that they will be moving the show to an online-only event or cancelling it outright this year, but several sources including Polygon and Kotaku have speculated that they’re simply ready to share “more details” about an online-only event in the same capacity as last year’s show.
E3 skipped 2020 altogether but managed to host a digital event in 2021 which still allowed publishers and developers to showcase their new and upcoming games. Ever since the global pandemic, in-person events have quickly shifted to digital presentations and showcases due to concerns and fears over spreading COVID-19 in large crowds. While the Omicron variant continues to affect most of the world, this might have been an informed move on the ESA’s part, though it’s still sad news nonetheless.
Just last year, The Game Awards became one of the first major gaming events to be hosted in-person, with CES 2022 following this month. There are plans by other events to have in-person shows again, though we wonder how the industry might react to a physical E3 being shelved.