E3 2022 Goes Online-Only Amid Pandemic Fuelled By Omicron Variant

E3 2022 Goes Online-Only Amid Pandemic Fuelled By Omicron Variant
Image: The Entertainment Software Association

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, will shift to an online-only showcase for the second consecutive year and a year off, according to GamesBeat.

In a statement shared with GamesBeat, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which runs E3, cited concerns regarding the ongoing pandemic, now fuelled by the omicron variant that has caused a sharp spike in confirmed infections. At this point, it’s unclear when or if E3 will return as an in-person event.

“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,” the ESA said in a statement. “We are nonetheless excited about the future of E3 and look forward to announcing more details soon.”

When reached for comment via email, the ESA gave Kotaku the same statement, saying it will “share updates as news breaks.”

There were rumblings E3 2021 would take place in-person after last year’s was held online and 2020’s was cancelled entirely, but the ESA opted to make the showcase online-only as the delta variant of the coronavirus upended people’s lives. While the dates for E3 2022 have yet to be confirmed, the event typically takes place during the first or second full week of June. It’s worth mentioning that, according to business analyst Mike Futter, the ESA “had abandoned [its] dates for the LACC” at the end of November 2021. This means the ESA could have scrapped plans for an in-person event prior to the full effects of omicron being realised.

And, of course, last year’s E3 was quite the mess. Many companies, including PlayStation, opted out of the event after doing so for the later-cancelled 2020 show, while others hosted their own livestreams. The whole thing made E3 2021, the biggest event in gaming, feel sparse and a little unnecessary. Hopefully, the ESA irons out the kinks this year for a smoother show.

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