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This Year’s E3 Canceled Amid Coronavirus Fears

Update, 3/11/20:

E3 officially announced the cancellation of their event on Tuesday.

They posted the following on their website:

“After careful consultation with our member companies regarding the health and safety of everyone in our industry – our fans, our employees, our exhibitors, and our longtime E3 partners – we have made the difficult decision to cancel E3 2020, scheduled for June 9-11 in Los Angeles.

Following increased and overwhelming concerns about the COVID-19 virus, we felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation. We are very disappointed that we are unable to hold this event for our fans and supporters. But we know it’s the right decision based on the information we have today.

Our team will be reaching out directly to exhibitors and attendees with information about providing full refunds.

We are also exploring options with our members to coordinate an online experience to showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020. Updates will be shared on E3Expo.com.

We thank everyone who shared their views on reimagining E3 this year. 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.”

Original post:

Another big event is unplugging in response to growing concern over COVID-19. Ars Technica reports this year’s E3 is being canceled due to the coronavirus.

Later today on March 11, the Entertainment Software Association will announce it is canceling this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in response to the growing threat of coronavirus. Last week they had planned to still hold the three-day industry trade show, scheduled for June 9th through the 11th at the Los Angeles Convention Center. This will be the first time since 1996 that E3 will not take place. At least not in person. According to Bloomberg, on Tuesday the ESA wrote to its partners in a private memo that it is “exploring options for an online E3 event” for sometime this summer as a virtual replacement.

This news isn’t totally unexpected. But it might still be surprising to some since the event was still months away. That feels like a very long way off, but vendors, exhibitors, and attendees need time to cancel plans. (Or avoid making them in the first place). This might be overly cautious, but that doesn’t mean it is a mistake. No one knows what we’ll be dealing with a week from now, let alone in a few months. And large events, especially ones that draw people from around the globe, pose huge risks to everyone, not just those who go to E3.

We aren’t suffering from a global pandemic yet. We are now officially in a global pandemic. And with countries like Japan, Italy, and Iran dealing with major outbreaks, and with more and more cases of COVID-19 being reported around the world every hour, more drastic steps are being taken to avoid a total catastrophe. That includes canceling large gatherings where the illness could easily spread to many in short order. Soccer games in Europe are already being played in empty stadiums. That could happen soon at NBA and NHL arenas in America soon too. St. Patrick Day parades have already been cancelled in both Ireland and in Boston. Some are already calling for the NCAA to cancel this year’s March Madness tournament.

And of course, coronavirus already led to the cancelation of this year’s SXSW.

Every big event, whether it’s schedule for next week or this summer, is now facing the same question: how long can we wait? If the spread of COVID-19 is under control a month from now then we will likely see a relative return to normalcy. However, if it is not, we will almost certainly see San Diego Comic-Con canceled as well. At some point it doesn’t matter how well you wash your hands and avoid touching your face. The danger is too high.

No one needs to panic just yet, but the way we can avoid having to is by being smart and taking reasonable precautions. Unfortunately that means large events will need to be postponed or cancelled outright.

But at least if you were going to E3 you’ll be okay if we all end up quarantined in our homes. That’s a perfect excuse to play your favorite games.

Featured Image: ESA