After three years without an in-person event, the annual E3 video gaming convention will finally return next year—though it remains to be seen whether it will come back to its usual home in Los Angeles.
In an interview with the Washington Post on Tuesday, Electronic Software Association (ESA) president and CEO Stan Pierre-Louis said the conference organizer plans to stage E3 as an in-person expo in 2023. However, Pierre-Louis was not drawn on whether the event would return to Downtown’s Los Angeles Convention Center, where it has been held since 1995.
The ESA canceled this year’s E3 in March, after initially indicating in January that the 2022 expo would be an entirely remote, virtual event once again. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, last year’s event was online-only, while the 2020 conference was canceled entirely.
“We’re excited about coming back in 2023 with both a digital and an in-person event,” Pierre-Louis told the Post. “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.”
After calling off this year’s expo, the ESA promised that E3 would return in 2023 with “a reinvigorated showcase”—but at the time, organizers couldn’t tell dot.LA at the time if future editions of the conference would be in-person or entirely remote.
The ESA did not respond immediately to a request for comment regarding its future plans for the conference. No dates for the 2023 show have yet been announced.
Though June is usually when upwards of 65,000 gamers, industry executives and media members from around the globe descend on the LA Convention Center for E3, the expo has been conspicuous in its absence since 2019—costing the city’s economy tens of millions of dollars.
While many video game publishers have eschewed E3 in favor of their own showcase events in recent years——such as Nintendo Direct, the Xbox Showcase and Sony’s State of Play—Pierre-Louis said he thinks there’s room for big-box game publishers to continue their own events while also attending the E3 conference.
“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,” he told the Post. “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.”
Correction, June 7: This story has been corrected to reflect that ESA president and CEO Stan Pierre-Louis did not say whether the 2023 E3 convention will be returning to its usual home in Los Angeles.
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