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E3 2023 officially cancelled because publishers don’t want to make demos

E3 2023 officially cancelled because publishers don’t want to make demos
It’s hard to imagine it ever coming back after this (pic: ESA)

As has seemed inevitable, E3 2023 has been cancelled due to a lack of interested parties but there is still a chance it could return.

You didn’t need any insider contacts to know that E3 2023 was on its death bed , with the withdrawal of Ubisoft , and then Sega and Tencent making it inevitable that, for the fourth year running, there would be no E3 in June.

‘This was a difficult decision because of all the effort we and our partners put toward making this event happen, but we had to do what’s right for the industry and what’s right for E3,’ said Kyle Marsden-Kish, of would-be organiser ReedPop.

‘We appreciate and understand that interested companies wouldn’t have playable demos ready and that resourcing challenges made being at E3 this summer an obstacle they couldn’t overcome. For those who did commit to E3 2023, we’re sorry we can’t put on the showcase you deserve and that you’ve come to expect from ReedPop’s event experiences.’

Although E3 is owned by the ESA they had contracted Gamer Network owner ReedPop to organise this year’s event, in the hope that this time it would actually happen.

The problem is simply that publishers don’t want E3 to come back and even if Ubisoft and others had taken place it was already made clear that Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo would not be in attendance.

There are various reasons for this, including simply not wanting to pay for the exhibition stands, not wanting to share the limelight with others, and, as the ReedPop statement implies, not having enough spare capacity to get demos and other promotional material ready.

No matter what publishers think of E3, developers hate it, as it means they have to get playable demos ready for June just as they’re starting to get into the busiest period of the year, finishing games off in time for Christmas.

All companies are still running behind because of the pandemic and, clearly, they don’t want to waste time getting ready for a public event like E3, when they can just show off their games in a pre-recorded video instead.

Of course, that means that you learn far less about a game in the run-up to its release, with much less chance for hands-on impressions. That and it’s far less easy to meet developers in person for interviews.

Unfortunately, that’s just how things are now though and while Microsoft, Sony, and others have events timed around the same time in June they’re all separate events.

There is Summer Games Fest, by The Game Awards organiser Geoff Keighley, which will become the de facto replacement for E3 but, again, it’s primarily an online-only event where publishers are in full control of the narrative.

ReedPop and the ESA have indicated that they haven’t entirely given up yet, and that E3 could still return next year or later, but at this point you wouldn’t bet on it.

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MORE : Sega and Tencent nail coffin shut on E3 as they follow Ubisoft exit

MORE : E3 2023 is now deader than dead as Ubisoft pulls out in favour of own event

MORE : PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo will not be at E3 2023 claim multiple sources

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