There won't be an E3 in 2022. The cancellation makes 2022 just the second year in over two-and-a-half decades that an E3 has not taken place. The other E3-less year was 2020, when the event was cancelled due to lockdowns at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The yearly Entertainment Software Association trade event started in 1995, and despite fluctuations in its relevance over the years (2007 was dire), it has consistently been regarded as the games industry's most important event. There was an E3 last year, although it was held online instead of in person at the Los Angeles Convention Center. This year, there won't be a physical or online E3. It's fully cancelled, although this isn't the end of E3 in general, according to the ESA.
"E3 will return in 2023 with a reinvigorated showcase that celebrates new and exciting videogames and industry innovations," the organization said in an email sent to PC Gamer. It's planning to return to Los Angeles for the show, but said there will be a digital component as well.
The question for this year now becomes how much we'll notice E3's absence. These days, in the minds of both gamers and the industry itself, E3 has become a conglomeration of many events and gatherings that happen on Twitch, YouTube, and in and around the LA Convention Center every June, not all of which are officially associated with the ESA's show.
Flashy E3 press conferences from Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and major game publishers have in the past been formally considered E3 events, but in recent years some of those companies have opted to do their own thing. Sony skipped E3 2021, for instance, and in recent years EA has been hosting EA Play Live around E3 week, but not as part of E3.
The convention, which would have happened June 11–14 this year, has also attracted shows from non-publishers. PC Gamer itself started putting on the annual PC Gaming Show in 2015. We'll be back this year: The 2022 PC Gaming Show (opens in new tab) is scheduled for this June.
Aside from producing and hosting the yearly Game Awards, Geoff Keighley has also become a big presence during E3 week with the Summer Game Fest. Following the news of E3 2022's cancellation, he tweeted a wink emoji. Later, he formally announced the return of the Summer Game Fest.
Excited to share that @SummerGameFest will return this June with a slate of events. We'll be producing another Kickoff Live show with announcements, news and first looks.Much more to share in the coming weeks, along with some very cool new elements for '22. pic.twitter.com/jjXLG8XuehMarch 31, 2022
There were also a number of other E3 adjacent streams last year that may return this June alongside the bigger conferences. Since a convention center floor wasn't expected to begin with, the only thing missing from this year's E3 compared to last year may be the letter and number. We expect a large number of events to take place during that week in June, as well as before and after it.