E3 2020 Is Being Cancelled

E3 2020 Is Being Cancelled
Image: ESA

It was on the cards for weeks and the state of emergency in Los Angeles made it worse. Now, the inevitable has arrived: due to concerns over the coronavirus, the organisers of E3 2020 are on the verge of officially cancelling the show.

Update 5:40pm: Bloomberg is now corroborating the story as well, adding that partners have been told that the ESA is “exploring options” for an online show instead:

The cancellation is planned to be announced at 9:30 am Los Angeles time on March 11 by the Entertainment Software Association, according to a person familiar with the matter. The ESA, which organizes the show commonly known as E3, wrote in a private memo to partners on Tuesday that it is “exploring options for an online E3 event this summer.”

Sources began reaching out to journalists worldwide about the cancellation, at Kotaku and other outlets, and the stampede was fuelled by a fairly direct tweet from Devolver Digital, which was as blunt as you could be. Devolver Digital declined to comment further when contacted by Kotaku Australia, but it’s not hard to see what was going on.

The first independent sourcing of the story was published over at Ars Technica, with multiple sources telling the site that an official announcement on the cancellation was due to go out today Australian time, or March 10 internationally. The ESA declined to comment on word of the cancellation, nor did they confirm that the event was still going ahead as planned.

Part of the reason for the delay, according to former Kotaku alumni Patrick Klepek, was that the ESA was vetting their statement with their members (which includes major games publishers like Microsoft).

Australian publishers contacted by Kotaku Australia weren’t able to individually confirm whether they’d been told of E3 being cancelled. It’s likely that they wouldn’t be first to know anyway: E3 plans are generally organised by teams based out of the United States, with the involvement for many Australian publishers largely supporting plans of their US headquarters or compatriots.

Until then, we’re left with this update from a website dedicated to tracking all the events affected by the coronavirus.

Question is: if E3 doesn’t run as normal this year, will the ESA try and postpone the event until later in the year – or do they opt for an online-only, livestreamed briefing? And if that’s the route the ESA goes, what does that mean for E3 next year?

We’ll update this post as more news comes to light.


  • the implications are fascinating. are we going to see everyone go the Nintendo Direct/Sony State of Play route? (this would be best imo)

    • Even better, if they’re all doing their own events then they might decide not to do them all within the same 3 day window.

    • It’s interesting, Sony (and obviously Nintendo) have been moving more towards this style for a while now but Microsoft seem to prefer the big trade shows. If they get a taste for pre-recorded online talks too though, last year’s E3 might end up being the last.

  • I work in the theatre and we have already had three shows cancel. In next few weeks. No doubt, like with the toilet paper hysteria, it will just escalate rapidly from here.

    I get it, in terms of big budget and high profile things like this and Dark Mofo. When the event is so costly it makes sense to pull the pin, sooner than later, in order to save money, and Those that involve a lot of international travel, but in terms of smaller theatres (under 1000 people), and the events being cancelled in the short term, I can’t help but wonder if it a knee jerk reaction, that will gather speed rapidly.

    All I know really, things are about to get very ouchie, very soon, especially to all the casual crewing companies. Even as a permanent, it’s concerning enough.

    • It’s hard to say if it’s a knee jerk reaction. With it being so virulent, it takes just one person to potentially infect an entire venue. Even worse, not everyone gets the same severity of symptoms so you might just feel a little under the weather but otherwise fine and go to a crowded event not even realising you’re a source of infection.

      • There is no evidence that “one person [could] potentially infect an entire venue”. That’s your spin, and like a lot of disinformation, people are extremely bad at assessing risk when faced with wall to wall media fear mongering.

        All informed medical information available today suggests that for every one person infected with CORVID19 they are only likely to infect an average of 2.2 people. The claim that an entire venue might be infected from one carrier wandering through the venue is nothing but hysteria.

        See, for example

        • Just for a bit of more up to date info on the link you provided. in the 5-6 days since that article was published (6th March), 50 more countries have confirmed cases, 30,000 more people have been infected and more than 1300 more people have died.

          I do enjoy how that article uses South Africa as a comparison, even though South Africa (and Africa as a whole) have largely been spared so far.

          Let’s look at Italy, since that is a more apt comparison right now.

          Since October 2019, there have been over 2,000,000 confirmed flu cases recorded resulting in 240 deaths (~0.1%)

          Since January 31 2020 (first confirmed cases of coronavirus in Italy), there have been 12,462 confirmed cases, 827 deaths (6.64%) and 1,045 recoveries in Italy.

          Now Italy is an ageing country and with CORVID19 being (especially) dangerous to older people, the mortality rate is rather high compared to the global average. Regardless, point stands. Gotta compare apples to apples mate.

          Come on fishy, I thought you were better than that.

          Now before you go on your “fear mongering” rant again, I’ll leave you with this. This is not fear mongering, this is just correcting your apples to oranges comparison, with a more apt one. I think you can agree that having correct information is critical in any situation, and with WHO’s recent labelling of CORVID19 as global pandemic (first time a coronavirus has had that classification), I think it’s safe to say that there’s no point trying to downplay the severity of this, but there’s also no need to empty supermarket shelve

          • Just to add, considering how infectious and “deadly” CORVID19 seems to be in developed countries, it would be interesting to see it’s effects on less developed countries, especially since the flu ravages those.

            Only then can we start making a direct comparison between CORVID19 and the seasonal flu, which seems to be the comparison on everyone’s lips

          • The “R” value (infection rate per infected persons) has been hovering around 2.2 for some time, typically a little less by most estimates. It’s a little hard to be exact because lots and lots of people who have it are either asymptomatic or have symptoms so mild they feel like a common cold.

            It was just one article mate, not the basis of my entire post, which incidentally is still more than you have provided in justifying your response. The R value hasn’t changed in the last 6 days.

            In any case, nothing you have quoted is inconsistent with an R value of 2.2 or thereabouts. Something that doubles every generation is inevitably going to overwhelm the pond.

            None of which changes the fact that one or two infected people are not going to single handedly infect an entire venue, which was the hysterical claim that I was responding to. It’s simply not how viruses like these work.

            Personally, and always, I’m happy to go with the science and the judgement of the qualified and experienced professionals, none of whom are advocating mass closure of events. To do otherwise is no different from climate denialism, or from anti-vaccination movements, in assuming that your or my judgement trumps professional expertise simply because we feel hysterical about something we read in the paper and can toss around some scary-sounding numbers.

          • Numbers as of this morning (our time): https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-opening-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-covid-19—11-march-2020

            Numbers in Italy for flu and CORVID19: https://www.2oceansvibe.com/2020/03/11/how-many-people-die-annually-from-flu-in-italy/
            Updated CORVID19 numbers in Italy: http://www.salute.gov.it/portale/nuovocoronavirus/dettaglioContenutiNuovoCoronavirus.jsp?lingua=italiano&id=5351&area=nuovoCoronavirus&menu=vuoto

            WHO’s response to CORVID19 as 7th March: https://www.who.int/publications-detail/responding-to-community-spread-of-covid-19
            An exert taken from the downloadable PDF under the “Public Health Measures” sub-heading:

            Consider, based on
            local and/or global

            • Avoid crowding (i.e. mass
            • School closures and other
            • Public transportation closures,
            • Workplace closures and other
            • Public health quarantine
            (asymptomatic contacts) and/or
            isolation (ill individuals).

            Government responses in regards to school closures, avoidance of mass gatherings, etc are all taken from the advice of WHO, on data from 5-6 days ago.

            Anything I missed?

          • None of which changes the fact that one or two infected people are not going to single handedly infect an entire venue, which was the hysterical claim that I was responding to. It’s simply not how viruses like these work.

            Just going to go with anecdotal evidence on this. Working in a highschool for 10 years, I’ve seen first hand how quickly infectious diseases can sweep through 1500 student + 150 staff.

            Sure, maybe one or two people may not be able to infect an entire venue, but if WHO are recommending that people avoid mass gathering, then there must be some rhyme or reason to it… It’s not like the disease is thinking “sweet, only 1 more infection today and I’m done”. Go to any sporting event and watch how many people use those public restrooms, all it takes is for one infected person to touch a handle/tap/etc and look at how many others touch the exact same thing. Everytime another person touches that space, another ptoential infection.

          • WHO’s recommendation is “Consider, based on local and/or global evaluation”, primarily meaning places with actual sustained community infection, mostly China, Italy and Iran.

            It’s self evidentially a judgement call based on confirmed community spread, it doesn’t apply to every single place in the world that had citizens on a cruise ship or were diagnosed after getting off a plane from Iran.

            I have no quibbles with cancellation of mass gatherings if things get to that point, I just think we shouldn’t be making that call as a gut reaction on our own in the same way as we shouldn’t be making a call to stockpile toilet paper simply because it got some coverage in the paper and we feel a need to do something, no matter how stupid, damaging or useless, and 1000 lemmings can’t be wrong.

            And schools are not analogous to other mass gatherings. Children have very poor personal hygiene, put things in their mouth often, share water bottles and wrestle with each other often. These are not traits typical of most adult events.

            Luckily, children seem almost immune to CORVID19 for practical purposes, although less so their parents for sure. If it were up to me, however, the first place to shut down in the event of a pandemic is indeed schools, not comic book conventions.

          • “Children have very poor personal hygiene
            “If it were up to me, however, the first place to shut down in the event of a pandemic is indeed schools, not comic book conventions.”
            You definitely dont live in the real world.

    • I don’t think it’s that knee jerk, I went to bed last night we had 100 cases across the nation, I just checked the news site and we sit at 133 cases now. off course there are lots of factors at play but at the end of the day I doubt anybody wants Australia to be like China or Korea that recorded triple digit case growth daily.

      I do feel sorry for the more casual workforce and those without much savings on hand. if /when we do start shutting down public transport, forcing people to work from home etc, I doubt we’ll see landlords suddenly slash the rent they charge by 50% (like some of done in South Korea)

    • I work for an international company and one of our production places is Italy and they went from around 100 cases to literally almost 10,000 in a matter of weeks, not to mention a COMPLETE shutdown of our facilities and from what I can understand that is par for the course in Italy right now.

      In some European countries at the moment sports games (the equivalent of our AFL) are being played with completely EMPTY stadiums (i.e. they aren’t open to the public) and the games are just being televised instead.

      This virus is seriously affecting global business in an almost unprecedented level.

      • Absolutely. I suppose the question is: is the virus unprecedented or is the response? Or both? I have no idea! All i know is the less who get it the better, and that whoever develops the first vaccine is going to be very rich. Or rather the first who gets it approved. I’m sure it’s a very corrupt process.

        • Well with the news this morning that they have officially declared CORVID19 a pandemic, and have also noted that this is the first time they have ever issued a pandemic level threat for a coronavirus… I would say it’s a bit of both?

  • Well that’s just fucking great E3 getting cancelled due to coronavirus panic and concern as to whether the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games should be given the go ahead or not due to coronavirus concern is unclear.
    So will the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games be given the go ahead or get cancelled due to coronavirus panic? Don’t ask me that’s up to the IOC to decide.
    But for now let’s just all remain calm.

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