When it was announced that E3 would return in person this year, some questioned the future of what was once gaming’s most popular industry event. E3 was once the event everyone in gaming would wait for all year. It is the event where studios would show off their newest projects. It was an event where people from the industry would get to network.
The importance of E3 has dwindled in previous years, being supplemented by Geoff Keighley’s summer game fest, as well as other events such as The Game Awards and publishers’ own individual events.
E3 has not been held in person since 2019. Its 2020 show was canceled due to the pandemic, and the 2021 and 2022 shows were virtual events. Ever since competing gaming events have only grown more popular, and E3’s importance has only shrunk.
It was rumored that multiple major publishers will not attend E3 this summer. Xbox, Sony, and Nintendo will be absent this year.
According to industry insider Idle Sloth, the reason for Microsoft’s absence from E3 is a result of a cut from Xbox’s marketing budget.
(FYI) The reason why Xbox won’t be making a big splash this year on the E3 convention floor is they have a reduced marketing budget. https://t.co/AOkKEvJoav
— Idle Sloth💙💛 (@IdleSloth84_) February 3, 2023
Microsoft has sought to cut costs in the company, laying off 11,000+ people in the last few weeks. These cuts have hit many Xbox studios hard, with 343 Industries laying off nearly a hundred employees, and other studios canceling games as a result.
With the big 3 game publishers out, E3 could be barren. Ubisoft will likely be the headliner of this year’s E3 event. Some major publishers like EA have their own summer event, while others will likely have their showcases during the Summer Games Fest.
VGC games Andy Robinson suggests that it would not be a good look for Microsoft to attend this event in the wake of mass layoffs that have significantly affected its gaming division. However, Microsoft could have a presence in LA somehow, where E3 takes place.
Microsft has its own summer showcase planned. Reportedly, Nintendo is a no-show because the company does not feel they have a strong enough lineup to justify a presence at E3.
E3 has a storied history. For over 2 decades, it was the world’s premier gaming event. But things do not last forever, and some in the industry have questioned if we really need these big, expensive industry events when smaller virtual events have become more commonplace. Time will tell if there is a future for E3.
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