E3 2020 cancellation reasons, refunds & digital events
E3 was set to come back this June, but coronavirus intervened, as it has for so many other conventions and conferences in gaming, tech, and elsewhere.
The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3 as it’s better known, has been a regular fixture on the gaming calendar ever since it began in 1995.
The world’s biggest gaming convention is usually held each June, but the coronavirus pandemic has left this year’s plans in tatters.
E3 2020 has been cancelled outright, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to look forward to. Some companies will still be making the same announcements they normally would around the same time, while others will shift their schedule around. E3 2021 has also now been confirmed for June next year.
Here’s everything you need to know. We also have similar roundup for San Diego Comic-Con.
When was E3 2020 due to take place?
Like past E3 conferences, E3 2020 was set to span over three days in early June, though publisher press conferences would have spread a bit ahead of that.
Why was E3 cancelled?
E3 was cancelled “following increased and overwhelming concerns about the COVID-19 virus.”
The coronavirus epidemic had already seen MWC cancelled and GDC ‘indefinitely postponed’, alongside other events like Facebook F8 and Google I/O. Basically, big tech events are getting cancelled left, right, and centre, so it’s not really a surprise that E3 was the same.
Will E3 tickets be refunded?
E3 organiser the ESA says that it “will be reaching out directly to exhibitors and attendees with information about providing full refunds,” so it sounds likely that ticket buyers should get their money back – which is good news when the top ‘Premium Badge’ for this year’s show cost a cool $995.
Will there be an E3 2021?
In its statement about the cancellation the ESA said: “We look forward to bringing you E3 2021 as a reimagined event that brings fans, media and the industry together in a showcase that celebrates the global video game industry.”
That has now been confirmed, with the event set to take place on 15-17 June 2021, assuming coronavirus is no longer a threat by then. This will once again be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The ESA has said this will be a “reimagined” show, but hasn’t expanded on what that might mean.
Which companies are still holding E3 press conferences?
The show may not be happening, but companies that had E3 announcements planned may still want to go ahead with them. That’s something that the ESA wants to encourage, saying that it is “exploring options with our members to coordinate an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020.”
Microsoft’s Phil Spencer has already said that the company will still hold an “Xbox digital event,” which makes sense given that it was expected to go big this year in promoting its next generation Xbox Series X console.
Square Enix, Bandai Namco, and Take-Two have chosen IGNInteractive ultimately chose IGN for their E3 2020 replacement show.
Ubisoft is the only other company confirm any plans, saying that it is “exploring other options for a digital experience.”
Bethesda has confirmed that it will not be holding a live digital event, so expect its upcoming games to be delayed as a result.
In the absence of E3 2020 in any form, Square-Enix, Bandai Namco and Take-Two have chosen IGN’s ‘Summer of Gaming’ event, which will be held virtually.
Warner Bros. Games were expected to launch new Harry Potter and Batman games at E3, but they are yet to make alternative plans at the time of writing.
Nintendo’s presence is usually focused around an online-only Nintendo Direct anyway, so it seems like the company will go ahead and release one in early June anyway.
Sony had announced it wasn’t attending E3 before the cancellation, so don’t expect any changes to its plans.
That means most companies have made some sort of announcement following the cancellation. However, we’re still waiting to hear from the likes of Sega and Capcom on what their plans might be.