Rising Omicron COVID infections to blame
Update: Reports are noting that this may have actually been decided last year, though now the news is official.
Update 2: Edited to reflect that E3 has not officially stated it is going online yet, only that in-person is not happening.
The ESA has confirmed to VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi and GamesBeat that this year’s E3 will not take place in person
once again be online only. The news comes as cases of the Omicron variant of COVID surge around the world, especially in the US. With vaccination rates in the US still well under the 70-80% threshold that typically help ease spread of major viruses like this, the logistics of a giant in-person expo are certainly difficult, as evidenced by CES 2022 taking place right now.
No one knows what June 2022 will look like; by then, COVID numbers may have plummeted. Or they may be steady, or shooting back up. Unfortunately, big events take a lot of planning, and after last year’s, uh, less than optimal event where the show shifted to online late in its planning, the ESA has opted to get the ball rolling earlier just in case. Last year the news was announced in February after a lot of misinformation and rumors began to float.
If the show takes place, it would likely be during the same week it always does – June 13-17 – but could become more of a streamlined series of showcases rather than whatever 2021’s version was. Game companies have fully embraced individual streamed showcases now, though having everything at least take place during one specific timeframe makes things much easier to schedule around. We’ll find out more in the coming weeks and months.