COVID-19 resulted in many huge events into becoming online events last year, like the annual E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo). It didn’t exactly give us the same spark of what was so exciting about E3, and we hoped that it would become an in-person event this year. However, the Electronic Software Association (ESA) announced that the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant in the U.S. is the reason for them going back to the digital format again.
“Due to the ongoing health risks surrounding COVID-19 and its potential impact on the safety of exhibitors and attendees, E3 will not be held in person in 2022… We remain incredibly excited about the future of E3 and look forward to announcing more details soon,” said the ESA.
Last year, the ESA mentioned that they planned to make 2022’s E3 an in-person event. They added that they were “very disappointed” that they were unable to hold the event for their fans and supporters.
But while a virtual event isn’t as exciting as an in-person event, the 2021 E3 still gave us some exciting announcements. They included Nintendo’s anticipated sequel to Breath of the Wild, expected to be released this year, and Bethesda’s Starfield, expected to come out in November.
Other game publishers that participated in last year’s E3 included Ubisoft, Xbox, Square Enix, Capcom, and Warner Bros. All of their showcases were also free to watch and featured hours of programming.
According to international research, the Omicron variant can be up to 3.7 times more infectious than the Delta variant—which has been the predominant strain so far. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that Omicron accounted for up to 95% of U.S. test samples that were reviewed last week. And the U.S. also hit 1 million daily COVID-19 cases—a global record.
With the in-person event scrapped once again, the ESA is missing out on a major source of its revenue—opening up E3 to consumers, rather than making it a “business-to-business convention”. There’s also no telling what the future holds for E3.