Inaugurated in 1995, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, has long been the biggest gaming event. Taking place annually in the Los Angeles Convention Center, the Expo was the place to be for new gaming announcements, with publishers big and small turning out to show off their latest games. Unfortunately, organizers were forced to cancel E3 2020 due to the COVID-9 pandemic, and the 2021 event was online only.
With no E3 in 2022 either, some gamers may have wondered if the annual event was gone for good. However, E3’s parent organization, the Entertainment Software Association, revealed that is not the case. The head of the organization recently confirmed that E3 will return in 2023.
“We’re excited about coming back in 2023 with both a digital and an in-person event,” said ESA president Stan Pierre-Louis when he spoke to a reporter from the Washington Post. He went on to say that while they loved the online E3 event and that it was great for international fans, the ESA is eager to get back to in-person presentations. Thus, he hopes 2023 will be E3’s return to form and cited fans’ desire for the return of in-person events.
It’s perhaps unsurprising that Pierre-Louis, the head of the world’s largest gaming trade show, might be biased in favor of an in-person E3 2023. However, criticisms of the 2021 event may have played a role in E3’s return to the LA Convention Center. For example, the organization put controversial restrictions on who could live stream the event, and its “friend-finding” social feature allowed users to find an attendee’s personal details.
There’s also the question of whether E3 has as much of a place in the modern gaming industry. Even before COVID, E3 2019 saw fewer visitors than the year before it. This was due in part to Sony and Activision’s conspicuous absence. Prior to that, many AAA studios were already electing to hold separate showcases that weren’t officially part of E3. 2020 also saw the transition to online events such as Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest and various publisher-specific shows. These are both less expensive for developers and freed games from having to compete for the attention of in-person patrons.
Despite this, Pierre-Louis believes there is still a place for in-person E3 events, noting that it encourages companies of all sizes to experiment with how they attract consumers’ attention. Whether or not that makes it a good deal for the publishers involved is another question, and it is unclear which companies will attend in 2023. The ESA also wasn’t ready to announce a date for E3 2023.
Pierre-Louis also used the Washington Post interview to push back against claims that gaming contributes to real-world violence. These accusations go back decades and were recently echoed by Texan Senator Ted Cruz. Pierre-Louis dismissed the claims as “baseless accusations” and pointed to decades of research showing no link between violent games and mass shootings. He also cited the 2011 US Supreme Court ruling that video games are constitutionally protected free speech.
This week also saw the publication of the ESA’s Essential Facts About the Video Game Industry report. It estimates that 65% of Americas play video games, based on a survey of over 4,000 respondents. Most surveyed players also said that games helped with stress relief, cognitive skills, and staying connected with friends and family. Pierre-Louis cites the survey as proof that video games are a benefit to society.
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Source: The Washington Post