E3, or the Electronic Entertainment Expo, was a highly-anticipated event for the gaming industry for years. In the past, companies like Nintendo, Sony, and Xbox have used the convention to showcase their upcoming games and hardware, creating a buzz of excitement among fans. However, in recent years, E3 has struggled to maintain its relevance in a world where live-streamed gaming events have become more popular.
In January 2023, it was reported that Nintendo and Sony would not attend E3 2023. While Sony has not participated in the event for a few years, Nintendo's absence surprised many fans.
Despite the absence of two of the major gaming companies, rumours still swirled that Xbox would be present at the event. However, an Xbox spokesperson has confirmed that the company will not attend E3 2023, at least, not in person. IGN reports that instead, Xbox will co-stream the Xbox Games Showcase on June 11 as part of E3 Digital.
This move aligns with gaming companies' trend to live-streamed events rather than in-person conventions. The last in-person E3 was in 2019, with the following three years getting cancelled due to COVID-19. While a digital-only E3 took place in 2021, the lack of in-person conventions over the last few years has hurt the expo.
Sony stopped attending E3 in 2018 due to disagreements with the Entertainment Software Association that runs the multi-day convention. Instead, PlayStation has opted to participate in other gaming expos or released its showcases at various times throughout the year. Similarly, Nintendo officially stated that it would not be attending E3 2023. While the Japanese company hasn't always held a conference at E3, it has traditionally provided awe-inspiring show floor displays.
However, Sony and Nintendo have shown that in-person conventions are unnecessary to reach their audience. Sony has successfully held its live-streamed events, and Nintendo was one of the first gaming companies to embrace online possibilities with its Nintendo Direct presentations.
Moving away from in-person conventions may disappoint some fans who enjoy the atmosphere and excitement of events like E3. However, the trend towards live-streamed events is not slowing down. As more companies opt for digital showcases, it will be interesting to see how the gaming industry adapts to this new era of marketing and promotion.