March 11, 2020
The Electronic Entertainment Expo, one of the premier trade events for the video game industry, March 11 officially canceled the show, citing ongoing health concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“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,” organizers said in a statement. The show had planned to increase by 25,000 the number of public passes to the expo.
Organizers said “increased and overwhelming” concerns about the virus prompted the decision. Indeed, the decision came as the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus crisis a pandemic.
To date, more than 121,000 people worldwide have been diagnosed with the virus, with the death toll exceeding 4,300, including 31 in the United States. There are more than 1,000 people diagnosed with the virus in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
“We are very disappointed that we are unable to hold this event for our fans and supporters,” read an E3 statement. “But we know it’s the right decision based on the information we have today.”
First held in 1995, E3 attracted 66,000 attendees in 2019 despite Sony Entertainment not exhibiting for the first time.
Officials said they would be reaching out to exhibitors and attendees with information about providing full refunds — and options to coordinate an online event to showcase industry announcements and news in June 2020.
“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,” wrote organizers.