E3 is Dead Again (Sadly, For Real This Time)

I’ve covered the death, resurrection, re-death, and re-resurrection of E3 over the past few years as diligently as I can, so it comes as no surprise to me that we’re once again saying “ah shit, looks like E3 is actually doomed this time”.

Thanks to a stellar interview and unpacking from Gene Park over at The Washington Post, it would appear that those death rattles we’ve been hearing from the ESA for years now are finally the real deal… As the president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has confirmed it himself.

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. We know the entire industry, players and creators alike have a lot of passion for E3. We share that passion. We know it’s difficult to say goodbye to such a beloved event, but it’s the right thing to do given the new opportunities our industry has to reach fans and partners. [Stanley Pierre-Louis, President / CEO of the ESA]

E3, once gaming’s biggest expo, is officially dead – Gene Park, The Washington Post

For some reason, there’s going to be plenty of people dancing on E3’s grave, and I’ll never understand that. Yes, the show has definitely been mismanaged and failed to evolve with the industry that it was built to celebrate. Yes, they did accidentally leak a ton of attendee credentials to the wild a few years ago. But otherwise, I don’t see how you can look at E3 as anything but a force for good in the gaming industry since it’s inception in 1995.

I might be biased here, but watching E3 in the comfort of my good pal Johnny’s sun room every year gave me some of my favorite core memories while growing up. Sitting by the TV (back when G4 was good), waiting with bated breath as your favorite publisher took the stage, stuffing our faces full of snacks and sodas, and being absolutely glued to the screen – never knowing what was next… Those were the days.

C’mon man. C’MON!!!!!

Having said all that… With every developer and publisher pivoting to their own Direct-style model, and Summer Game Fest / The Game Awards delivering similar content and announcements that E3 used to corner the market on… Yeah, you can definitely pretty easily see how E3 would struggle to adapt and put together a unique, compelling, exciting experience to capture audiences again. Last year, PAX organizer ReedPOP announced that it would be taking over management of E3, only to later announce that they and the ESA had parted ways. I don’t think we ever got a full explanation of what went down, but that pretty much sounded like the final nail in the coffin when one of the most prestigious and respected event companies in the industry slipped through E3’s fingers.

Way before the blog and the podcast, way before I ever set foot onto a PAX show floor… All I wanted to do was attend E3 live someday. It makes me incredibly sad to think about how that’ll never happen now, but I will always look back fondly on the memories that the E3 stage has given us.

Thanks for everything, E3. We’ll miss ya.

Papa Dom

Co-founder, lead blogger, graphic designer, and manager of WGG's writing team - Dom has been writing about video games for over ten years. Dom's work has been featured on some of the world's biggest gaming news outlets - including Dexerto, GameInformer, and IGN.

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