The Covid-19 pandemic hastened its decline, but E3’s glory days were long behind it. A Washington Post interview this morning with Stanley Pierre-Louis, president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), put the final nail into the coffin. “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,” said Pierre-Louis.
Minutes after the Post interview went live, E3’s X/Twitter account posted a farewell message that reads:
“After more than two decades of E3, each one bigger than the last, the time has come to say goodbye. Thanks for the memories. GGWP.”
E3’s slow downfall is directly tied to the rise in streaming. Publishers and developers no longer need the press/hype a central event like E3 once provided. Instead, they could host their own showcases any time they want with much more control. And that’s exactly what we’ve seen. Nintendo and PlayStation have hosted their own showcases multiple times a year recently. Publishers like EA and Ubisoft also host their own events when they have games to show. Even individual events for games like Diablo’s Fireside chats.
There are still industry-wide events like Summer Game Fest, The Game Awards, D.I.C.E. Summit, PC Gaming Show, and others. And while the gaming industry is only getting bigger, the need for a single event has long since passed.
But it will be tough for any event to surpass the E3 hype in its heyday. Here’s a throwback to Xbox’s E3 2007 Conference: Halo 3, Call of Duty 4, Assassin’s Creed, Rock Band, and more.
And who can forget the Killzone 2 E3 2007 trailer?
E3 brought together all the developers and hardware folks for one event for days of reveals, news, and demos. But those days are done. And so is E3.