Earlier this year, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) canceled its E3 plans for the second time since the pandemic began. While 2020 was a break year for the massive gaming expo, it returned in 2021 with an all-digital event, but in 2022, even those digital plans were scrapped. Now, ESA plans for a full return of its multi-day event in 2023.
Speaking to the Washington Post, ESA president and CEO Stan Pierre-Louis confirmed the return saying:
"We’re excited about coming back in 2023 with both a digital and an in-person event. As much as we love these digital events, and as much as they reach people and we want that global reach, we also know that there’s a really strong desire for people to convene — to be able to connect in person and see each other and talk about what makes games great."
"I think what’s great about all this experimentation is that companies of all sizes are trying to figure out what works best to promote the product and the content that they are looking to share with consumers," said Pierre-Louis about the focus on digital events by most parties nowadays. "And I think there is a space for a physical show; I think there’s an importance of having digital reach. Combining those two, I think there is a critical element of what we think E3 can provide."
In E3's absence this year, many major publishers are hosting their own showcases throughout June, loosely held together under Geoff Keighley's Summer Game Fest umbrella. This includes a myriad of digital shows, including from Microsoft, Devolver Digital, Capcom, and others.