Xbox Series X Game AwardsSource: Microsoft

What you need to know

  • The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has announced the cancellation of E3 2020, its annual video game conference in Los Angeles, originally scheduled for June.
  • Microsoft will host a "digital event" in replacement of its E3 2020 showing, featuring its next-generation plans, including Xbox Series X.

E3 2020 has officially been canceled, with the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) detailing plans to forgo its annual video game conference, amid concerns of the growing threat posed by COVID-19, widely known as the coronavirus. While initially scheduled for June 9 to 11 in Los Angeles, it follows multiple consumer electronics events shuttering in response to the epidemic. The ESA has announced plans to deliver an "online experience" host to scheduled announcements, with Microsoft among the first pledging to a virtual replacement.

Microsoft responded to E3 2020's cancellation, detailing plans for a "digital event" focused around Xbox's next-generation vision. While a formal date for the broadcast remains unknown, expect further details in the weeks ahead.

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"The health and safety of employees, fans and our partners around the world is a top priority," a Microsoft spokesperson told Windows Central. "We support the ESA in its decision to cancel E3 following increased public concerns with the COVID-19 virus. E3 has always been an important moment for us to show what's ahead from Team Xbox. This year we'll celebrate the next generation of gaming with the Xbox community and all who love to play around the world via a digital event. We will share details on timing and more in the coming weeks."

E3 2020 follows the Games Developers Conference, Mobile World Congress, and other global industry conferences impacted by the coronavirus. It also comes at a time when E3's relevance is frequently questioned, with major players like Sony and Nintendo already breaking out independent, external events. Nintendo has found remarkable success through its series of "Nintendo Direct" online briefings, with comparable setups likely to occupy the early weeks of June.

Microsoft's June Xbox event is expected to fully unveil its upcoming next-generation flagship console, Xbox Series X, scheduled for a holiday 2020 release.