The E3 gaming convention is now officially dead forever

E3 2021 Image
(Image credit: ESA)

What you need to know

  • E3 is going away forever. 
  • The gaming convention once provided a glimpse at what was next from across the entire industry. 
  • Things had been going downhill for E3 for the last few years, with lower attendance and a seeming inability to pivot after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

E3, a trade show colloquially referred to as gamer Christmas, is dead. 

The news broke with a report from the Washington Post, which obtained a statement directly confirming that the once-vaunted event is not going to return. 

"After more than two decades of hosting an event that has served as a central showcase for the U.S. and global video game industry," the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has decided to bring E3 to a close, said Stanley Pierre-Louis, president and CEO of the ESA.

Why is E3 going away forever?

E3's demise cannot be attributed to just one particular cause and instead resembles a death by a thousand cuts. Interest in the show was waning in more recent years, to the point that the ESA opened the doors to the public, allowing non-industry attendees. Meanwhile, companies like Sony were among the first to pull out, with no PlayStation presence at E3 2019. 

All of these problems were compounded in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic, which accelerated a shift to digital-only events, capitalized on by publishers holding their own livestreams, as well as hosts like Geoff Keighley, who pulled together Summer Game Fest.

The final nail in the coffin came earlier this year, when E3 2023 was canceled after multiple companies like Sega and Ubisoft pulled out of the event.

Analysis: Mourning what has already passed

As I've explained before, I have mixed feelings on the passing of E3. Attending that event is how I was able to network and get my start in the industry. I know for multiple people it was their childhood dream to attend, and I'm sorry they'll never have gotten to experience it. 

At the same time, the problems have been clear for years now, and there was never any sign that things would improve. I'll always treasure what E3 was, with my favorite memories of watching different press conferences and finally attending myself, but its time has clearly passed. 

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.